The Lakers put a flying headlock on the formerly high-flying Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night and flung them back to earth with a thud and a 133-106 decision in front of a sellout crowd of 17,505 at the Forum.
Byron Scott led the Lakers with 26 points in the rout, but neither Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nor Magic Johnson played in the fourth quarter.
Abdul-Jabbar left the game late in the third quarter after he picked up his fourth foul, but by then the Lakers had a 24-point lead. Mitch Kupchak replaced Abdul-Jabbar and quickly made it a 27-point game with a three-point play.
After that, the only suspense was whether the 7-foot 5-inch Chuck Nevitt would get into the game. He did. The crowd's chant for Nevitt began late in the third quarter, which ended with a 96-71 Laker lead.
When Nevitt entered to a loud ovation with 5:39 left, all the Laker starters were long-since gone and so was the game, 116-87. This was not a tough crowd for Nevitt to crack. They cheered even when he fouled.
Mel Turpin and Roy Hinson each scored 18 points to lead Cleveland.
The Cavaliers, who came into the game with a six-game winning streak, didn't exactly get off to a swift start. They turned the ball over three times and fell behind 8-0.
Turpin and John Bagley shot the Cavaliers back to within 45-39 with 5:25 left in the second quarter when Johnson was resting on the bench.
The Lakers were up, 53-46, before they closed the half in a rush. They outscored the Cavaliers, 14-2, in the final 3:04 of the second quarter to take a 67-48 lead at the half.
World B. Free missed four of his first five shots, but Hinson picked up the offensive slack for the Cavaliers and scored 18 points by halftime.
Scott, who had 10 first-quarter points, and Abdul-Jabbar, who had eight, helped push the Lakers off to a nine-point lead in the opening period, but Cavalier Coach George Karl went to a front line of 6-8, 255-pound Lonnie Shelton and the 6-11 265-pound Turpin, and that combination kept Cleveland close.
Shelton, however, reinjured a thigh and didn't play in the second half.
The Lakers' 19-point halftime lead was constructed by Johnson and the fast break. Johnson played 16 minutes in the first half, which he used to accumulate 11 assists and seven rebounds. Scott had 17 points at the half and Abdul-Jabbar was 6-for-6 from the floor.
Bob McAdoo scored 11 points in the second quarter to offset eight points by Hinson, who had only 13 against the Clippers Wednesday night.
After checking the records, the Lakers discovered that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reached his 600th consecutive game for scoring in double figures last Wednesday night against the Warriors. The next longest double-figure scoring streak by a Laker is 14 by Magic Johnson. . . . Johnson, who slightly sprained his ankle in practice Thursday, sat out Friday's workout. . . . The Lakers have not lost to Cleveland in more than five years, and the Cavaliers haven't won in the Forum since Nov. 15, 1977.