LOS ANGELES • In a span of four days, the Milwaukee Bucks went from the top of the National Basketball Association (NBA) world to the bottom.
Forward Kobe Bryant scored 22 points in three quarters, allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to snap a six-game losing streak by defeating the Bucks 113-95 on Tuesday at Staples Center.
Milwaukee played for the first time since Saturday's 108-95 romp over Golden State, ruining the Warriors' record of 24 wins in a row to start the NBA season. The Bucks did not come close to duplicating Saturday's performance, falling into an early hole and never recovering against the Lakers.
"This is the NBA. Anybody can be beaten on any given night and if you don't bring energy and effort, you can find yourself on the losing end," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.
Rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell came off the bench to score 19 points and record seven assists as seven Lakers reached double figures in scoring. Russell said the Lakers' strong start played a huge factor in the outcome.
"We jumped off very fast and I would say we didn't look back. They fought back but we just found a way to retaliate. We just kept going the whole game," he said.
Bryant did not return after the third quarter, finishing the game on 7-of-15 shooting and 3-of-7 on three-pointers in a little more than 27 minutes.
Guard Lou Williams scored 16 points, forward Julius Randle finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds and centre Roy Hibbert added 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds for Los Angeles (4-21).
Reserve guard Michael Carter-Williams had 19 points and guard Khris Middleton chipped in 16 to lead Milwaukee (10-16).
Milwaukee played without centre Greg Monroe, who was a late absentee with a sore left knee. He bumped knees with a team-mate during the team's shoot-around on Tuesday.
Without him, the Lakers enjoyed a 52-38 advantage on the boards. They also out-rebounded Milwaukee 18-12 on the offensive end. Randle had six of those.
"That's the game right there," Milwaukee centre John Henson said.