Kobe Bryant played his final game in Cleveland, scoring 17 points in 33 minutes, hitting just five of his 16 shot attempts.
The Cavaliers pulled ahead early to double digits. The Lakers threatened multiple times throughout the game, including a brief fourth-quarter run to close to within eight, but their defense was an issue for most of the night.
Lou Williams was the high man for the Lakers with 28 points. Jordan Clarkson contributed 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds. D'Angelo Russell scored 15, playing through an errant pass by James that hit him below the waist.
Bryant and James embraced when the Lakers veteran left the game in the final minute. Bryant received a rousing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.
Coach Byron Scott gave Metta World Peace some rare minutes. The veteran was rusty, missing seven of eight shot attempts.
Kevin Love suffered an injured shoulder in the game, sitting out the second half.
The Lakers (11-44) are off until Feb. 19, when they'll host the San Antonio Spurs (45-8). The Cavaliers (38-14) will play the Chicago Bulls (27-25) a week from Thursday in Cleveland.