Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Lakers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a shot during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at STAPLES Center on December 31, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers lost their sixth straight game on Tuesday (and their third in a row against a team with a losing record), as they fell to the Milwaukee Bucks 94-79 on New Year's Eve. 

L.A. made it clear that it wasn't going to be competitive from the opening tip, as the Purple and Gold scored just 12 points and shot 5-of-21 from the field in the first quarter. 

Things wouldn't get much better from there. 

The Lakers didn't lead once on a night when they shot 36 percent from the field and 29 percent from three, and point guard Jordan Farmar was forced to leave the game after reaggravating his hamstring injury. 

"I'm glad 2013 is over and I'm looking forward to the future," Nick Young said after the loss, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin

Brandon Knight led the Bucks with a career-high 37 points, eight rebounds and four steals. 

This tweet from McMenamin summed up the kind of night it was at Staples Center:  


Key Players

Pau Gasol, Center 

After missing two games with an upper respiratory infection, Pau Gasol returned to the Lakers starting lineup on New Year's Eve. 

And while the Lakers looked atrocious early—they started 0-of-11 from the field and went scoreless over the game's first seven minutes—Gasol gave the crowd a reason to (sarcastically) cheer when he converted on his fifth attempt of the game to hand the Lakers their first points.  

It should be noted that while the hoop only cut the deficit to 12, it was a historic one: 

The Spaniard did work his way into a groove slowly but surely, finishing with 25 points (9-of-23 shooting) and six rebounds in 36 minutes. 

After a sluggish start, it was comforting to see Gasol operate as the undisputed No. 1 option in the Lakers offense. 

Grade: B


Nick Young, Small Forward

With Wesley Johnson out fighting a stomach bug, Nick Young drew the start at small forward against the Bucks. 

However, extra minutes didn't result in improved effectiveness or efficiency for Swaggy P, who scored 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting (3-of-8 from three) on a night when the Lakers were in desperate need of perimeter scoring—or any scoring for that matter. 

Young also added six rebounds to his final line, giving him a near-identical tally to Gasol. 

Grade: C


Jordan Farmar, Point Guard

Like every other member of the starting five, Farmar didn't look sharp. However, the reason for his struggles may have had more to do with a lingering injury than general lethargy. 

It also didn't help Farmar's cause that Brandon Knight absolutely torched the Lakers and made their starting backcourt look silly on the defensive end. 

Following up a poor showing against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, Farmar finished with zero points and seven assists in 20 minutes, exiting after feeling tightness in his hamstring, per McMenamin

With Farmar's hamstring flaring up again, Kendall Marshall remains the team's only healthy point guard. Steve Blake can't return soon enough. 

Grade: D


Jordan Hill, Sixth Man 

Jordan Hill was called upon to replace Shawne Williams only four minutes into this one, but his first-half contributions were negligible. In fact, Hill had as many personal fouls as rebounds in only five minutes of early run.

Typically a ball of energy, Hill was limited to four points and four rebounds in his temporary role as the team's sixth man. 

At some point, Mike D'Antoni has to consider moving Hill back into the starting lineup in an effort to get his team out to faster starts. 

Grade: F


Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard

The Lakers shot 28.3 percent from the field in the first half, and Jodie Meeks' lack of production was one reason why.

Meeks shot 2-of-8 from the field in the first half, scoring four points in the process, and was a team-worst minus-13 over the game's first 24 minutes.  

He would go on to finish with four points on 2-of-9 shooting (0-of-4 from three), but the highlight of his night was getting destroyed at the rim by Larry Sanders. 

Grade: F


Shawne Williams, Power Forward

Aside from the Lakers' horrendous all-around performance, one of this game's biggest surprises was that Shawne Williams saw more than twice as many minutes as Hill over the game's first three quarters. He racked up 36 total in the loss. 

Per usual, Williams' final tallies of five points and 11 rebounds don't jump off the page, but they weren't anything less than expected. 

Tuesday marked the second game in a row in which Williams pulled down double-digit rebounds. 

Grade: C-


LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Kendall Marshall #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the basketball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at STAPLES Center on December 31, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images


With Xavier Henry out and Nick Young thrust into the starting lineup, the Lakers bench grew evermore thin, which was evident when you consider that Kendall Marshall and Ryan Kelly both saw extensive minutes. 

To their credit, Kelly and Marshall looked comfortable in their expanded roles off the pine and scored six and 10 points, respectively.  

Marshall also flashed some solid court vision, finding shooters for open threes as he penetrated and drew the attention of help defenders in the lane, and tied a team high with seven assists.

And compared to his teammates, Marshall had a superb first half, although that's not saying much: 

He'll be tasked with carrying the load at the point moving forward if Farmar is forced to miss extended time. 

Chris Kaman did not step on the floor, as he continues to nurse a sore ankle. 

Grade: B-


What's Next?

The Lakers will have two days off before hosting the Utah Jazz at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday night at Staples Center. 


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