Fourth Quarter Comeback Propels Lakers over Bucks in 2OT

Morry Gash / Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on the road 128-124 Tuesday night in double overtime, overcoming a 19-point deficit with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Without LeBron James, LA understood the tall task ahead and was counting on guards D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves to have big performances in the King’s absence.

Reaves and DLO combined for a 58-21-22 line alongside Davis' 34-point 23 rebound night. Fortunately, by hitting big shots and strapping up defensively, the Purple and Gold could sneak their second win of the season against Milwaukee.

Let’s dive into our two key takeaways from tonight’s victory and what it means going forward. 

Fourth Quarter Defense

This Lakers team seemingly loves a good comeback, as we’ve seen their ability to overcome early deficits late in games on multiple occasions.

The LakeShow overcame a similar deficit against the Clippers in February, outscoring them by 23 points in the fourth quarter en route to a four-point victory.

The only difference is that LeBron James carried that comeback with 19 fourth-quarter points. 

We saw a similar display last night, only the stars were different. Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell supplemented Anthony Davis’ production tremendously at the end of this game, locking up the Bucks’ stars and scoring the basketball efficiently.

Reaves and DLO scored 16 and 11 points, respectively, in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, holding Damian Lillard to 4-15 from the field, while Anthony Davis chipped in an additional 16 points and held Giannis Antetokounmpo to six points in that same span. 

LA limited Milwaukee to 28.6% from the field and 11.1% from three-point range in the fourth quarter, holding them to only 13 points.

This strong defense continued through the overtime periods, limiting the Bucks to 26.7% from the field in overtime.

Ultimately, if the Lakers are going to come back from significant deficits in the future, they must focus on slowing opponents down on the defensive end and capitalizing off their inefficiencies on offense. 

Free Throw Efficiency

Los Angeles shot the ball exceptionally well from the charity stripe Tuesday night, going 30/32 or 93.8%.

The Lakers have been middle of the pack in this category throughout the season at 77.9% but have been solid at getting opportunities at the free throw line, averaging the third most free throws attempted per game at 24.2 and making the fifth most at 18.9.

In wins this season, the LakeShow averages over four more points, shooting 5% higher from the free throw line than in losses. 

Free throws can be absolutely critical in these close games, as seen from Tuesday night, and strong shooting performances will continue to propel us past teams that don’t capitalize at the line.

Milwaukee shot just 64.7% from the free throw line in this game, making only 11 of 17 attempts. If the Lakers can continue to draw contact, get to the free throw line, and make their shots, they can count on being competitive almost every game. 

The 40-32 Lakers sit as the ninth seed in the Western Conference, only two games back of the seventh seed and three games back of the sixth. LA will look to extend their four-game win streak tonight in Memphis.

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