Bucks send Lakers to 6th straight loss

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 1, 2014 at 1:06 am •  Published: January 1, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks caught the Los Angeles Lakers in one of their worst ruts in decades, and Brandon Knight was able to take full advantage.

Knight scored 18 of his career-high 37 points in the third quarter, and the team with the NBA's worst record beat the injury-jinxed Lakers 94-79 on Tuesday night.

"My teammates did a great job of running the floor and running the lanes and creating plays for one another, and I think that opened it up for me and a lot of other guys," Knight said. "But it started with our defense. We got after it. Part of that was them missing shots, but I want to give credit to our guys for contesting those shots."

The Lakers ended the year the same way they began it — with six straight losses. They had never ended a calendar year with more than three consecutive defeats in any of the franchise's 65 previous seasons. Los Angeles will begin the new year 13-19 — the team's first losing record since the 2002-03 season, when they also started out 13-19 following their third straight championship.

The year was a distinctly sobering one for the Lakers, who mourned the passing of flamboyant owner Jerry Buss, longtime executive Bill Sharman and Vern Mikkelsen, who helped the team win four NBA titles in Minneapolis. They also got swept in the first round of the playoffs and had star-crossed Kobe Bryant in the lineup for only six games so far this season.

Adding insult to Bryant's injuries was the end of a 320-game home sellout streak last month.

"I know an historic franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers will be fine," said Bucks forward Caron Butler, who spent the 2004-05 season with the Lakers. "Not having Jerry Buss at the helm anymore is a significant loss, but Jeanie and Jim and the rest of the Buss family know the business of basketball. They know the legacy of their father, and to restore that would be a wonderful feeling."

Pau Gasol and Nick Young scored 25 points each for the Lakers, who shot 35.8 percent from the field. Young, who led the team in scoring in each of the previous six games as a reserve, made his seventh start of the season.

Gasol, who had missed three straight games and four of the previous six because of a sinus infection and bronchitis, returned to a talent-starved Lakers lineup already missing Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake. Point guard Jordan Farmar played 21 scoreless minutes in his fourth game since returning from a torn hamstring, and sat out the fourth quarter after the hamstring tightened up.

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