Lakers News: LeBron James Surprised By Video Tribute But Appreciative Of Cleveland & Cavaliers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers lost a tough battle against a talented Cleveland Cavaliers team on Tuesday, falling 116-102 to register the first loss of the current six-game road trip.

Without Anthony Davis, who left the game in the first quarter, the Lakers became more vulnerable in the paint, allowing Jarrett Allen to score 22 first-half points on 10-for-11 (90.9%) from the field. But as the game went on, Donovan Mitchell took over and put up a season-high 43 points as well as five assists, six rebounds and four steals.

No other Cavaliers player has recorded a 40/5/5/4 stat line since LeBron James in his first run with the team. After the loss, James discussed how Mitchell’s arrival in the offseason has improved the already strong Cleveland team, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“They were already competitive before Donovan got here, but I thought, you know, them adding him made them even more dynamic. I mean, you watched them last year, you saw how competitive they were as well. I think, well, some of their guys got injured towards the end of the season, they slipped a little bit, ended up in a Play-In game. But they were a good team last year. You add an NBA All-Star, a dynamic wing — or dynamic guard, I’m sorry — like Donovan is going to automatically make your team better.”

James also reiterated that Cleveland remains a special place for him, adding the video tribute the four-time NBA champion received from the Cavaliers on Tuesday caught him off guard:

“Yeah, a little bit, a little bit. As always, love coming back here. Obviously, you know, the memories that I have here will never be forgotten. From the time I was drafted as an 18-year-old kid to the time I left. So, the reception I got from the fans here is mutual. That’s for sure.”

In addition to his 21 points, James registered 17 rebounds in the loss to the Cavaliers, collecting the most boards in a single game since 2016-17. Not long ago, the 37-year-old said he has extra motivation going into a game in Cleveland as he knows he won’t have many more occasions to play in front of Cavs fans in his career.

James says Lakers couldn’t fill in void left by Davis’ exit

Thomas Bryant did a good job in Davis’ place, putting up 19 points and nine rebounds in his best performance of the season. However, James said the Purple and Gold couldn’t simply replicate all that Davis gives them on the court.

“I mean, he’s given us everything — both scoring, defense, obviously rebounding, blocking shots around the rim, length,” the Lakers All-Star said. Obviously, our length goes away when you have a guy that’s 6’11’’ with a [7’6’’] wingspan, you know, can’t match that.”

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