The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers in a Sunday afternoon game hoping to bounce back from their loss to the Utah Jazz.
Ultimately though, the same script was followed as the Lakers stuck with the Cavaliers but then were blown out in the second half to fall 114-100. The loss drops the Lakers to 2-7 and they now have a quick turnaround before taking on the Jazz again on Monday night.
The Lakers were without guard Patrick Beverley due to non-COVID illness so Kendrick Nunn entered the starting lineup in his place. He faced a tough matchup with the Cavaliers backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, who both returned after missing the last game with their own respective injuries.
L.A. came out hot, beginning the game on a 7-0 run before Mitchell got to the free throw line to end it.
As has been the case a lot lately, Russell Westbrook came off the bench and immediately energized the home crowd with a putback and then his signature “too small” celebration. Westbrook also made a 3-pointer and came up with a steal, finding Anthony Davis for an and-one to give the Lakers an early double-digit lead.
Westbrook kept it going from there, making another 3 and completing an and-one of his own. The point guard has thrived since being moved to the bench and that continued early in this one.
The Laker’ Big 3 of Westbrook, Davis and LeBron James combined for 27 points in the first quarter. The Cavaliers, led by their stars, did a nice job of weathering the storm though and trailed 36-30 after one. It marked the Lakers’ first lead at the end of the first quarter this season.
Despite the Lakers’ great shot-making, Cleveland was able to stay in it early because L.A. couldn’t stop turning the ball over. The Cavaliers were also getting to the free throw line at will, making their first 15 attempts.
Garland and Mitchell accounted for almost all of the Cavs’ first-half offense. Meanwhile, their big man duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley picked up three fouls apiece and were sent to the bench.
The Cavaliers starting backcourt combined for 41 first-half points while Davis led the Lakers with 17 as L.A. took a 64-58 lead into the locker room.
Cleveland came out with more energy in the second half, going on a 7-0 run and regaining the lead, forcing Darvin Ham to call timeout two minutes in.
That run continued out of the timeout until L.A. put Westbrook back in to stabilize the offense by finding Davis for some easy buckets.
After a nice save by Austin Reaves, both Davis and Allen were battling for the lose ball and got called for double fouls. It was the fourth personal for each of them so they were forced to hit the bench midway through the third quarter.
James’ jumper wasn’t falling but he began to pick up the slack offensively from there, attacking the basket without the shot-blocking threat of Allen in the game. The Cavaliers wound end the quarter on another run though to take an 87-80 lead into the fourth.
Mitchell began the fourth quarter with a three-point play to extend his team’s lead to double digits. Westbrook’s play diminished as another turnover by him led to a fastbreak finish for Cleveland, forcing another Ham timeout with the game starting to slip away.
Westbrook did make a 3 to stop the bleeding, but that was only momentarily as the Cavaliers continued to build their lead with L.A. struggling offensively.
LeBron finally hit a triple to get the Lakers within 12 but that was as close as they would get as Cleveland responded with five straight points to put the game on ice. Matt Ryan made some shots in garbage time to make the score look closer than the game actually was.
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