On a night where the Los Angeles Lakers did not give their best effort, the onus fell to LeBron James to pull them through against the scrappy Cleveland Cavaliers.
In just his second game back in Cleveland since joining the Lakers, LeBron scored a season-high 46 points to go along with eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks to lead L.A. to a 115-108 victory. The win kept the Lakers’ perfect road record intact at 10-0 and improved their overall record to an NBA-best 14-4.
James started strong with 17 points in the first quarter as the Lakers pushed out to an 11-point lead and seemed to be on their way to another easy victory, but the Cavaliers had different ideas. The size of Cleveland gave the Lakers issues all night, particularly Andre Drummond, who finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds.
The Cavs steadily fought back and even took a lead in the third quarter. But that is when James took over and made sure they didn’t end that way. He singlehandedly outscored Cleveland 21-18 in the fourth, knocking down 9-of-10 shots, including three 3-pointers.
One of those was from the Cavs logo at centercourt and James later added an unreal fadeaway to ice the game. He shot 19-of-26 on the night, including an impressive 7-for-11 from 3-point range.
Anthony Davis struggled offensively after his excellent game in Chicago, knocking down just 5-of-16 from the field, but as usual made up for it everywhere else. Davis added 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals.
He helped take on the challenge of slowing down Drummond after Marc Gasol picked up three fouls in just three minutes.
The Lakers shot a mere 31.3% from deep, but were able to make up for it with their work on the offensive glass. They grabbed 15 offensive rebounds led by a career-high six from Kyle Kuzma.
The work was needed as the Cavaliers normally dominate the paint, but the Lakers were able to play them relatively evenly. Both teams scored 22 second-chance points, while Cleveland outscored the Lakers by just eight in the key.
Montrezl Harrell had another excellent night with 15 points and six rebounds, while Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 10 points apiece. The Lakers were also able to force 17 turnovers which they turned into 22 points of their own.
Next up for Lakers
The road trip continues as the Lakers head to Philadelphia to face early-season MVP candidate Joel Embiid and the 76ers, who own the best record in the Eastern Conference. L.A. then will play against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday for the second night of a back-to-back.
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