Bucks vs. Lakers final score: Dwight Howard dominates in 104-88 win

Harry How

The Lakers took care of business on the defensive end in their never-ending quest to play .500 basketball.

The Los Angeles Lakers finally shored up their porous defense as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-88, in convincing fashion Tuesday night at Staples Center.

It was all Dwight Howard for Los Angeles, who finished with 31 points on 14-of-18 shooting, adding 16 rebounds and four blocked shots.

It's what the Lakers (17-21) envisioned when they signed the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Kobe Bryant finished with 31 points of his own on an efficient 12-of-19 from the field, including 3-of-5 from the three-point line, and added six assists. His biggest feat of the night, however, was his defense on Brandon Jennings. He held the Bucks' guard to just 4-of-14 shooting and 12 points.

Monta Ellis led Milwaukee (19-18) with 17 points, and he added rebounds and four assists.

The Lakers set the tone early, jumping out to a 57-50 lead in the first half. They outscored the Bucks in the paint, exploiting their size advantage.

Earlsanity took a night off as reserve-turned-de facto-starter Earl Clark struggled, going 3-of-7 for six points, but the Louisville product managed to grab nine rebounds to help his team win a much-needed game.

With the win, the Lakers won their second straight game as they continue to work toward the playoffs. The Lakers played a clean game, turning the ball over just eight times.

Milwaukee struggled mightily from the field all night, shooting just 35.8 percent, including 25 percent from the three-point line.

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