Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers hope to end a five-game losing streak as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
The Lakers (11-46), who lost 126-115 to the Chicago Bulls play the second game of a back-to-back. They will be facing a Bucks (23-33) who has won three of its last four games thanks to the inspired play of star forward Jabari Parker.
Parker played one of his best games of the season in the Bucks' 117-109 double OT victory against the Atlanta Hawks, scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. The 20-year old forward is averaging close to 23 points (54.9% shooting) and 11 rebounds in his last three games.
"I think that we kept our endurance, especially in the first few minutes of the second overtime, seeing our energy go up to another level," said Parker.
However, the one of the things that the Bucks have failed to do this season is to remain consistent on both ends of the floor. A proof of that is their most recent match-up with the lowly Lakers, where they got blown out 113-95. Bryant had 22 points in that game.
Battle of the Sophomores
One of the most anticipated match-ups that didn't take place last season was that of Parker and Lakers' forward Julius Randle.
In the 2014 NBA Draft, Parker was selected 2nd by the Bucks and Randle went to the Lakers at 7th. While former had an impressive rookie season, the latter wasn't able to show the league what he can do last year because he suffered an injury in his first ever NBA game, against the Houston Rockets.
When Randle returned this season, he found himself struggling to play consistent minutes under Lakers' head coach Byron Scott. But when he got the opportunity to be the floor, Randle certainly didn't disappoint. He's averaging
The 21-year old had 22 points and 14 boards when the Lakers beat the Bucks at Staples on December.
Based on individual statistics, both players seem to be evenly matched, as Parker averages 11.9 points a game as opposed to Randle's 11.3.
And while it seems unlikely that they will guard each other, it will still be exciting to watch these kids go out there and try to prove who's better.
Will D'Angelo Russell Start?
Another rookie who has struggled to find consistent minutes under Scott is 2nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, D'Angelo Russell.
After starting at guard for the Lakers during the first few games of the season, Russell was told to come off the bench and Laker veteran Lou Williams replaced him in the starting line-up.
However, Russell was again given the starting role last night against the Bulls, and according to coach Scott, he will be starting for the Lakers throughout the remainder of the season.
Russell is averaging 12.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists this season.