Five takeaways from the Lakers' 125-120 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers

In both of their games this season, the Lakers played the Cavaliers close and gave the kind of effort that makes Lakers Coach Luke Walton happy.

We saw another example of that on Sunday at Staples Center.

The Lakers led for most of the game but couldn't quite pull it off. In the end, that might be good for them.

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 125-120 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

1. The night’s big story was about D'Angelo Russell and his career-high 40 points, but don’t overlook Brandon Ingram, who was matched up with LeBron James and left an impression. “Kid has a lot of talent,” James said. “The more and more he plays, the more and more he is going to get more comfortable out there. He has the in-between game. Can handle the ball. He shot a couple long balls tonight and that worked for him too.” Ingram finished with 18 points on eight-of-15 shooting. He also had six rebounds and a blocked shot.

2. The Lakers’ other rookie, Ivica Zubac, had some success early on at altering James’ path or his shots. The Cavaliers played a smaller lineup for a lot of the game, so Zubac played only 19 minutes. He was asked about facing some of the league's best players. “I think I did well,” Zubac said. “It is really great for me to be on the court against the best players in the world. That is why I came to the NBA to compete against them.”

3. Sunday's game marked the first time since Christmas against the Clippers that all five of the Lakers’ starters scored in double figures. “It was awesome,” Walton said. “That was a lot of fun. I told them it was great because there were moments in the game that … it looked like we were starting to trend toward playing selfish basketball and looking to do stuff one-on-one, and each time we did that, Cleveland would go on a run. And then we, as a group, got out of that and started moving the ball again, getting stops and rose to the challenge.”

4. The Lakers have had problems protecting the ball but they committed only six turnovers.

5. The Lakers remain two games back from the Phoenix Suns, who have the third-worst record in the NBA. The Suns are 1-4 since the Lakers beat them in Phoenix, and the Lakers haven't won since.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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