In a homecoming for LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers closed out their road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night hoping to finish the four-game trip at .500.
James always likes to put on a show in Cleveland, and that was again the case in this one as he finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Lakers to a 131-120 victory.
To no surprise, James got off to a quick start in his hometown with a bucket on the first possession. The Lakers began the game with six straight points, playing with a ton of energy, although that was short-lived.
Thanks to some silly Lakers turnovers, the Cavaliers responded with a 9-0 run and eventually worked their lead up to double digits at 23-11 midway through the first quarter.
D.J. Augustin entered for the first time after that run and helped his team out with back-to-back threes. Kevin Love also came off the bench and immediately matched him with a pair of triples of his own though to get Cleveland’s lead back to double digits.
While things could’ve really gotten out of hand from there, Augustin and Malik Monk were responsible for some nice bench play to close the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 35-28.
The Lakers came out with much more intensity in the second quarter with James and Westbrook in attack mode to get the team going offensively. Carmelo Anthony also contributed, knocking down some shots from both three and midrange to give the Lakers their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
Augustin continued his hot shooting, making five threes in the first half alone without any misses. James then brought the road crowd alive when he had an incredible poster dunk on his friend Kevin Love.
The Lakers carried that momentum through the end of the first half to take a 67-62 lead into the locker room.
Darius Garland, who is in the midst of a career year, continued that against the Lakers as he was essentially creating all of the Cavaliers’ offense.
There wasn’t much defense played in the third quarter with both teams essentially exchanging buckets, although the Cavaliers went on a late run due to the Lakers’ inability to rebound to take a 97-96 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was all James to begin the fourth as he had an insane pass to find Stanley Johnson for an easy bucket and then followed it up with a three-point play of his own and another slick pass to Malik Monk to put the Lakers back in front.
Johnson and James then each knocked down threes and all of sudden, the Lakers had their largest lead of the game at nine.
Later in the quarter, James found Wenyen Gabriel for a three-point play to extend that leads to double digits for the first time with James recording a triple-double against his former team.
James’ dominance continued down the stretch as he had no problem closing out his former team to finish the road trip.
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