Bucks trounce Kobe-less Lakers behind season-best shootingMar 8, 2007 - 5:14 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- It was Kobe Bryant's defense that the Los Angeles Lakers missed the most against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Charlie Villanueva scored a season-high 26 points and Andrew Bogut added 22 to lead the Bucks to a 110-90 victory over the Lakers.
Bryant was suspended for the game due to a stiff arm he landed to the face of Minnesota guard Marko Jaric, who was attempting to block his shot in the Lakers' 117-107 double-overtime loss Tuesday.
"It's a different ballgame entirely," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said regarding Bryant's absence. "There's going to be more tension in the ballgame. But that was a flat game. You could see it in the beginning. There wasn't enough energy to start with."
It is the second time Bryant has been suspended this season. He served a one-game penalty in late January after hitting San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili in the face while attempting to make a shot.
"I didn't get to see the replay, but I don't know," Lakers center Kwame Brown said about Byrant's suspension. "I thought that it was just a regular foul, but they say he hit the guy in the face. But we can't do anything, we can't catch a break at all. (It is) injuries, and not even that - just the mistakes that we're making. We have 10 guys out on the floor - they have five just like us - but we just made so many mistakes. They're getting layups and we're taking jump shots."
"It takes a little of the thunder out," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "I think you can kind of sense it in the building. Kobe has that presence. Certainly, when a guy like Kobe's not going to be on the court, either subconsciously or consciously, it's going to have an effect."
Without Bryant controlling the perimeter, the Bucks shot 10-of-21 from beyond the arc and a season-high 60 percent (44-of-74) from the field. Villanueva and Bogut each shot 10-of-12.
"The defense was reactive," Jackson said. "We didn't close any lanes. Villanueva hit some outrageous shots, Bogut took us to the basket, (Charlie) Bell ... took us to the basket ... they can beat us by 20 points is embarrassing.
"I was looking down (the bench) for some help and there was nothing there. They made some adjustments in the second half and didn't let us inside. We were missing some short easy shots."
Milwaukee led by six points at the half and opened the third quarter with a 21-10 run, capped by Michael Redd's 3-pointer for a 71-54 lead with 3:21 left in the period. Bell scored nine points during the run and ended the game with 20.
"I felt that the first half I wasn't being that aggressive and I tried to pick up a little bit, get myself going and get the team going," Bell said. "The first half was pretty boring to play and pretty boring to watch, I'm sure. A lot of people came out to see Kobe but he wasn't here and we still had to put on a show."
Villanueva made sure the lead held up, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter. The 6-11 forward finished the game 6-of-8 from the arc.
"Before, it used to be sometimes I would start and sometimes I would come off the bench," Villanueva said. "But now, it's been real consistent with me coming off of the bench, so I understand my role and know what they want from me."
Maurice Evans led the Lakers with 22 points and Brian Cook added 20. Sasha Vujacic, starting in Bryant's place, finished with just six points.
LA LAKERS 90
MILWAUKEE 110 FINAL
Mar 7 10:19 PM
LA LAKERS 61
MILWAUKEE 77 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 7 9:47 PM
LA LAKERS 44
MILWAUKEE 50 HALFTIME
Mar 7 9:06 PM
LA LAKERS 21
MILWAUKEE 21 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 7 8:34 PM
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