Los Angeles Lakers fans gave LeBron James a nice ovation at the beginning of the night. But by the end of the game it was Julius Randle and Isaiah Thomas who made their case to be part of the team’s future plans.
Randle finished with a career-high 36 points to go along with 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. Thomas added 20 points and nine assists off the bench as the Lakers dominated the second half en route to a 127-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Randle scored 23 points in the second half while Thomas basically put the game away in the fourth quarter with eight points in the first couple of minutes. Veterans Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also continued their recent strong play with 22 and 20 points, respectively.
Arguably the biggest story coming into the game was LeBron’s lone appearance on the Staples Center floor against the Lakers, and he didn’t disappoint. James was impressive with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but Cleveland’s defense just had no answer for the bruising Randle.
In their first game against their former team, Larry Nance Jr. had a good night with 16 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Clarkson struggled, however, with just four points on 1-for-8 shooting. Clarkson did find his teammates, collecting four assists.
Speaking of struggling, Lonzo Ball had a rough night from the field as well, hitting just two of 11 shots. Included in that was missing a wide-open slam dunk in transition. He scored just five points, but did have seven assists without a turnover.
With the win, the Lakers improved to 7-2 since the All-Star break and reached the 30 -in mark for the first time since the 2013 season. A daunting back-to-back looms next as they host Denver Nuggets, who are quickly becoming one of their biggest rivals, before facing the Golden State Warriors on the road.
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