Los Angeles (23-11) has won four straight and 14 of its last 17. This is the third four-game winning streak the Lakers have had during that stretch, but they haven’t won five in a row since March 16-25.
Los Angeles is winning by an average of 23 points in its last four games, including a 109-80 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. Five players scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Kobe Bryant.
“We’re doing a great job getting the spacing, knocking down shots and making teams pay,” Bryant said. “We just come out and play with a lot of energy. We moved the ball very well and it’s tough for teams to match up with and to guard because everybody’s moving.”
It was just the eighth time this season Bryant has been held below 20 points. He’s averaging 26.4 points this season after averaging more than 30 the previous two, and he’s playing less than 40 minutes per game for the first time in four seasons thanks to the play of his teammates.
“My role now has changed,” Bryant said. “I’m not the guy who has to go out and score 35-something points. They come to me to get buckets when we need a little boost here and there and that’s as it should be.”
The Lakers are trying to avoid being swept by the Bucks (15-20) for the second straight season after losing 110-103 on the road on Nov. 21. The three-game skid is Los Angeles’ longest losing streak against Milwaukee since losing four straight from 1980-82.
Milwaukee begins a three-game road trip in Los Angeles after winning three straight, its longest run since winning five in a row from Nov. 14-24.
The Bucks come off a 98-92 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Five players scored in double figures for Milwaukee, which was without leading scorer Michael Redd, but got a team-high 35 points from Mo Williams, who was 10-of-22 from the floor and also made all 12 free throws.
“I really liked what he was doing on the floor on both sides of the ball,” coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “Certainly scoring 35 points, he made some big plays for us. He’s been a warrior with some of the injuries we’ve had.”
Williams is averaging 21.8 points in the last nine games.
Redd, who is averaging 23.4 points in 31 games this season, has missed the last four games because of a deep thigh bruise.
Friday’s game is the start of a tough trip for the Bucks, who have won three straight road games after starting 2-15 away from Milwaukee. They also visit the Suns on Saturday then play at Utah on Monday.
“We’ve got three tough games coming up,” guard Charlie Bell said. “We just have to go out there, stick together, and hopefully get Michael back and everybody else can continue to play the way they’ve been playing.”