The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-97 on Wednesday night, with Andre Drummond leaving his debut with a bruised right toe and Jrue Holiday scoring 28 points.
The Bucks broke a three-game losing streak with a workmanlike win over the weakened defending NBA champions, who are also without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton contributed 17 points and eight assists.
Drummond scored four points in 14 minutes before limping off the court in the third quarter after attempting to play with his big right toe toenail missing. When Bucks center Brook Lopez stepped on Drummond’s foot in the first quarter, the nail was completely ripped off, but Drummond didn’t know the seriousness of the injury until halftime, despite the fact that it was “very, very painful.”
“To have this happen to me in the first game is kind of deflating for me, but my head is high,” said Drummond, who hadn’t played in a game for Cleveland since Feb. 12. “I’m going to take it game by game and come back better than ever.”
X-rays on Los Angeles’ new center came back negative, but the bruise adds to the Lakers’ injury report as they prepare for a difficult April schedule. With a sprained right foot, James has missed his sixth straight game for the Lakers, while Davis has missed his 20th straight game with a right calf injury.
“We don’t worry about that,” coach Frank Vogel said of the Lakers’ mounting injury woes. “We worry about the guys in uniform. We know we have enough. We have a deep team. We’ve been playing better basketball, and we know we can win. Our group is going to grind.”
For the Lakers’ supporting cast, Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and Dennis Schröder added 17 points, but their two-game winning streak came to an end against the powerhouse Bucks, who rebounded well from a blowout loss to the Clippers.
“I think it was important (because) the starters hadn’t played well for the last two games,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They have high standards, high expectations of each other. They’ve set the bar high. We need to come out play well, play hard. There was a little bit of that tonight.”