EditorsNote: Resending per client’s request
Ball’s triple-double not enough in Lakers’ loss to Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Lonzo Ball made history Saturday night, becoming the youngest player to record a triple-double.
He wasn’t much in the mood to celerate the feat, though, after his Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Milwaukee Bucks 98-90 at the Bradley Center.
“I really don’t care,” Ball said. “We took a loss, so it don’t really mean nothing. I just wanted to win tonight. I thought we put ourselves in a good position to get it, but it didn’t happen.”
Ball did his part with 19 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals against only four turnovers.
Kyle Kuzma scored a team-high 21 points and Julius Randle added 17 for the Lakers. While that trio combined to go 19 for 36 from the floor, Los Angeles shot 41.9 percent overall while missing 16 of 22 3-point attempts and 15 of 37 free throws.
Making things more difficult for the Lakers were 23 turnovers, which Milwaukee converted for 17 points.
“That makes it really hard to win when you turn it over that much,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Then obviously you throw the free throws on top, you still have your chances but you have to play a pretty perfect game besides that.”
Ball was two-thirds of the way to a triple double at halftime. He knocked down three of four 3-point attempts and went 4-for-5 from the floor overall for 11 points while dishing out 10 assists.
”That’s going to be the headline, that he got a triple-double and I got to see it in the front row,“ said Bucks coach Jason Kidd, third on the all-time list with 107 triple-doubles. ”Ball can play. He’s going to make his teammates better, he’s going to make his team better.
“Triple-doubles are going to be the norm for him. We just have to give him time. People are trying to put him in a microwave and speed him up. He’s going to make mistakes, he’s going to have bad nights. But he competes and he’s going to find a way to win.”
Playing the second half of a back-to-back set, the Bucks shot 41 percent through the first two quarters but finally got settled in the third, hitting 9 of 18 shots and 7 of 8 free throws.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 10 of his game-high 33 points in the quarter and fed Malcolm Brogdon for a dunk in the waining seconds to send Milwaukee into the fourth with a 77-67 advantage.
“Playing last night in San Antonio, understanding the Lakers were waiting on us -- a team that’s going to get out an run -- I thought the guys did a great job of focusing on the defensive end, rebounding the ball, taking care of the ball,” Kidd said. “Our bench gave us a big spark tonight, something that we haven’t had this season.”
Ball grabbed his 10th rebound with 9:11 remaining.
“He was really good tonight,” Walton said. “Obviously it helps when you get some of those shots to go in. I thought he did a great job of playing at a pace, creating for others, constantly being the aggressor on the offensive end, keeping the defense on their heels.”
Randle cut the deficit to seven on a pair of free throws with 5:28 to go but Antetokounmpo scored five straight on his own, sparking a 9-2 run that put the Bucks up by 14 when Walton called timeout with 3:16 to go.
NOTES: Lakers G Lonzo Ball said he spoke to his father, LaVar Ball, who told the Lakers’ rookie to focus on his own work and not worry about his brother, LiAngelo, who was arrested for shoplifting along with two UCLA teammates in China. “He just said be ready to play,” Lonzo said. “We are handling it out here so that is a good sign ... they are out there so they are taking care of him.” ... Bucks G Mirza Teletovic missed a second consecutive game with a left knee injury. Coach Jason Kidd said he expected Teletovic to resume on-court workouts Wednesday, making it unlikely that Teletovic would return during Milwaukee’s three-game homestand. ... G Eric Bledsoe started his second consecutive game for the Bucks and finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. With Bledsoe in Milwaukee’s starting lineup, Malcolm Brogdon has been moved into a bench role and has scored 25 points in his last two games.