The Milwaukee Bucks (33-34) will go into the contest clearly as the form team, having beaten the Los Angeles Clippers 97-96 on Wednesday to notch the seventh win in their last eight games. Now sitting in seventh in the Eastern Conference, a win against the Los Angeles Lakers (20-48) in the upcoming game will pile pressure on the sixth-placed Indiana Pacers and hold off the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in the standings.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are in the midst of another tough season. They were handed a crushing 139-100 defeat on Wednesday by the Houston Rockets, which was their 15th loss in their past 18 games since the start of February. Rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference, the Playoff is virtually out of their reach and they don’t have much left to play for.
WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME THEY MET?
On February 10th, the Bucks lost 114-122 despite Giannis Antetokounmpo setting a new career high with 41 points. It was their first game since losing Parker for the season and his absence was felt as they trailed by as many as 27 points to the Lakers. Nick Young put in a good shift for the Purple and Gold by scoring 26 points, while Lou Williams knocked in 21 points off the bench.
Other than Young, who has been rated probable for this game after spraining his left ring finger, the Lakers have a clean bill of health. However, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov are unlikely to play too big of a role with head coach Luke Walton reportedly aiming to give the younger players an opportunity to impress instead.
As for Milwaukee, Michael Beasley and Jabari Parker remain their long-term absentees, but the former is expected to be back in time to face the Portland Trail Blazers next week.
KEEP AN EYE FOR...
Khris Middleton. The 25-year-old guard has not missed a beat after recovering from his hamstring injury as he has averaged 14.2 points per game and almost matched last year’s output in assists, rebounds, and steals per game. Since his return to the court last month, the Bucks are 11-6 and have climbed into the Playoff zone.
FACTS & FIGURES
- Since its opening in 1999, the Bucks have had a 7-27 record playing at the Staples Centre in regular seasons (3-15 vs Clippers; 4-12 vs Lakers).
- As of March 17th, the Bucks are 21-15 against teams under .500 this season.
- The Lakers have only won once (vs Phoenix Suns on March 9th) since the All-Star break.
Watch Milwaukee Bucks vs Los Angeles Lakers on Astro Channel 817 or HD Channel 836 at 10:30am this Saturday (March 18th). Alternatively, you can watch it on Astro on the Go.