The Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow start and blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers were aggressive in getting to the paint early as their first five field goals came next to the rim, giving them the early game lead. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley was able to shake loose on cuts for several easy layups, but the rest of the Lakers struggled to convert on their looks.
With Los Angeles playing a zone defense, Cleveland turned to Kevin Love who delivered as he knocked down a pair of jumpers including an open three. Kyle Kuzma was able to hit a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper to close the quarter, but the Lakers still found themselves down 27-21.
Los Angeles came out listless to start the second quarter as they allowed Cleveland to get to their spots on offense and go on a 7-0 run that prompted a quick timeout. Alex Caruso and Jared Dudley provided a much-needed spark, playing hard defense and hitting shots that narrowed the deficit.
With Rajon Rondo out of the lineup, Caruso picked up the playmaking duties off the bench as he was able to dish out some pretty assists to Dwight Howard and Danny Green. The team as a whole looked energized down the stretch and went into the locker room only down 48-47.
Los Angeles came out to start the third quarter with much more pace and energy, pushing the ball up the court and attacking Cleveland’s defense before it could get set. LeBron James looked to finally get going, attacking the paint and distributing the ball to help give the Lakers a slim lead.
The Lakers defense picked up considerably midway through the period as they were able to force turnovers that ignited fast break opportunities that they capitalized on. Los Angeles bench, particularly Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, kept the momentum going and helped the team going into the final quarter up 84-70.
Howard served as the offense for the Lakers to start the fourth as the team was able to find him for dunks and lobs that extended the lead. Cleveland went on a 6-0 run to capture some momentum back, but James caught fire from the field and blew the game open for Los Angeles.