They had been on the road for almost two weeks, returning home a tired and beaten-down team, the idea of yet another loss a distinct possibility during this season of Lakers‘ futility.
But the Lakers refused to cave in to their weariness, playing with a purpose that has been on display only a few times this season, getting seven players to score in double figures during their 113-95 rout over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
“That was a long trip,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. “Eight games in 13 days, that’s a lot of basketball, a lot of traveling. So to be home for a couple of days to be able to just kind of relax and rest, get back to your normal routine when you’re at home, get a good day of work in yesterday, I think that was big-time key for us.”
Bryant led the Lakers with 22 points on seven-for-15 shooting. He also had six assists and three rebounds in 27 minutes, 26 seconds, sitting out the fourth quarter because the Lakers built a 22-point lead that was their largest of the season.
Russell, who was back on the bench after starting the last two games, had another strong game, his improvement continuing after he was taken out of the starting lineup five games ago.
He finished with 19 points on seven-for-13 shooting, four assists and seven rebounds. He made two of five three-point shots.
Jordan Clarkson, who had missed the last two games because of a sprained right ankle, had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.
What made the game even more
exciting for the fans were all the highlights the Lakers produced along the way.
There was the high-jumping Larry Nance Jr. dunking over John Henson, a play that brought his teammates off the bench in the third quarter.
There was Bryant’s high-arching jumper over the long and tall 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo, his three-pointer while being fouled by O.J. Mayo that became a four-point play after Bryant made the free throw, and his passes to Roy Hibbert and Russell that gave the Lakers a 75-53 lead.
“I just relax, just teach,” Bryant said. “If the plays are there, I take it. Whatever is in front of me, I make it.
“If there is an opportunity I see to teach, I do that. I’ve been able to find a balance to do both. I feel very comfortable with that.”
In some ways, the Lakers caught a break when Bucks center Greg Monroe was unable to play because of a sore left knee.
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