EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Lakers were the NBA equivalent of charred toast, pinwheeling their arms in futility and trailing the Milwaukee Bucks by 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Then the unexpected happened.

What You Need To Know

  • Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves take turns making big plays to push Lakers to emotional victory

  • Lakers pulled two games within slumping Phoenix Suns for eighth place in the Western Conference

  • Lakers won without LeBron James, who was sidelined because of a nagging ankle injury

The Lakers uncorked their most inspirational victory of the season, stunning the Bucks with a 128-124 double-overtime victory Tuesday in Milwaukee.

Austin Reaves, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell took turns making headline plays to push the Lakers within two games of the Phoenix Suns for eighth place in the Western Conference.

With both teams absolutely exhausted, Reaves drilled a three-pointer with 38.1 seconds left in double overtime to give the Lakers a 124-121 edge. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed two free throws at the other end and Russell made a pair to put the Lakers up five.

It was just enough to win. Phew.

“There’s two things you can do,” Reaves told Spectrum SportsNet. “You can fold and go to the next one in Memphis [on Wednesday] or you can man up and face the challenge head on.”

The Lakers obviously chose the latter.

And to think it all happened without LeBron James, who sat out because of a nagging ankle injury.

“How ‘bout those Lakers?” Lakers Coach Darvin Ham said excitedly. “Never gave up. … That was a hell of a team win right there.”

Davis played 52 minutes, the most for a Lakers player since Kobe Bryant in 2012, and did wonders on the court — 34 points, 23 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Davis also saved the game for the Lakers with a defensive play as time expired in the first overtime. Bucks guard Damian Lillard thought he had an open lane to penetrate down the left side, but Davis extended seemingly to his highest point and blocked Lillard’s attempt, sending the game into a second overtime.

Davis played through discomfort after banging knees with Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton in the fourth quarter.

“That’s just another mind-over-matter type of thing,” Reaves said. “He wanted to continue to go to battle with us.”

Reaves finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Russell, his backcourt mate, had nearly similar numbers: 29 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

An exhausted Davis called it “high-level basketball.”

“It was a fun game, great game. We know where we’re trying to get to,” he said. “For us a as a unit, especially without ‘Bron out, guys had to step up, and we did that at both ends of the ball.’”

The first half was bleaker than bleak for the Lakers. They made one of 13 three-point attempts, shot 33.3% overall and trailed, unsurprisingly, 58-42.

The third quarter wasn’t much better, forcing the Lakers to withhold their comeback until the fourth quarter, where they outscored the Bucks, 27-13.

Holding the Bucks to 13 points in any quarter at any time is an achievement, to say the least.

“That was huge. Huge win for the team. Everybody pitched in,” Russell said.

The Lakers (40-32) have five games remaining on their road trip and none of the opponents will be as tough as Milwaukee. In fact, the Lakers will be favored in most, if not all, of their upcoming games in Memphis, Indiana, Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington.

Meanwhile, the suddenly slipping Phoenix Suns (42-30) have a brutal schedule over the last 10 games. The Lakers hold the tiebreaker with the Suns if the teams tie in the standings.

Translation: the Lakers have a good chance of avoiding the dreaded single-elimination play-in game between the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the West. Instead, they could move into the less-frenetic play-in game between the West’s seventh- and eighth-place teams.

If that happens, they can point to their late-March game in Milwaukee, when an apparent one-sided loss became a stunning double-overtime triumph.