Depleted Bucks upset Lakers
The injury-hit Milwaukee Bucks stunned the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 100-89 on Saturday helped by a herculean effort from Drew Gooden.
The Bucks (8-11) were without leading rebounder Andrew Bogut, who has a broken ankle, while second top scorer Stephen Jackson sat out the game with suspension.
Gooden filled the void with 23 points - 18 coming in the second half - and eight rebounds, Mike Dunleavy and Ersan Ilyasova scoring 15 points each coming off the bench.
The loss dropped Los Angeles (11-9) to a woeful 1-7 on the road.
Gooden hit a three pointer late in the first quarter to spark a 17-0 Milwaukee run that extended into the second quarter to turn a six-point deficit into an 11-point lead at 34-23.
"I've been working on that day-in and day-out, and the best thing I like about it is coach (Scott Skiles) is giving me the confidence to shoot it," Gooden said.
"I have to thank my coach and my teammates for having the faith in me shooting that three, and it is helping our offense."
Outside of a brief Lakers surge near the end of the third quarter that trimmed the Bucks lead to three points, Milwaukee maintained a comfortable grip on the lead.
Dunleavy scored 10 points in the first half but went silent in the second half until scoring five points in a 40-second span in the final two minutes of the game.
That spurt helped push the Bucks' lead back to an insurmountable 11 points.
"As so often happens, they made a little run at us and we had to make some big shots and big plays - and tonight we made them," said Skiles.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with a near triple double, including 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, while the Bucks limited Andrew Bynum to 15 points.
Spaniard Pau Gasol grabbed 15 rebounds but scored just 12 points.
"Before the game, the question was, 'How are we going to guard Bynum and Gasol?' And I kept saying they've got to guard us also," said Skiles.
"We put them in as many pick-and-roll situations as possible. We made (Lakers coach) Mike Brown have to switch the coverage numerous times.
"They got a little confused out there on certain occasions and it led to open jump shots or we made a play to the open man."
Brown lamented his team's poor play away from home
"I just hope that we don't need a home crowd to get us juiced, to play the right way," he said. "We're not bringing it mentally nor physically when we're playing on the road."