Lakers can’t overcome poor start, fall to Cavs, 100-94
Cavaliers 100 - Lakers 94 (final)
The Lakers drop to 9-13, losing their third straight game in Cleveland to the Cavaliers, 100-94.
Cleveland (5-17) got their star point guard Kyrie Irving back from injury (broken finger) and Irving was sensational, scoring 28 points and dishing 11 assists.
C.J. Miles was tremendous, scoring 28 points on just 18 shot attempts. Anderson Varejao (20) and Alonzo Gee (17) also had big nights against the Lakers’ porous defense.
The Lakers did make a few runs at the Cavs, but down the stretch they just couldn’t consistently get stops. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 42 points on 16-28 shooting from the field, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Dwight Howard had 19 points and 20 rebounds. Metta World Peace scored 13, but the Lakers hit just 41.3% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times while missing 15 free throws (25-40).
The Lakers have three main flaws this season: defense, turnovers and free-throw shooting. Tuesday night was a convergence of all three.
Cavaliers 68 - Lakers 62 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers climbed back into the game against the Cavaliers with a much stronger third quarter.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points in just under 31 minutes, hitting 11-18 from the field. Dwight Howard’s double-double (14 points and 16 rebounds) was instrumental in the Lakers’ comeback.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 19 points and eight assists. Cleveland struggled to score (14 points in the third) dipping down to 39.4%. The Lakers have shot 39.6% for the game.
The big problem for the Lakers has been turnovers with 17, five from Bryant and four from Howard.
Cavaliers 54 - Lakers 39 (halftime)
The Lakers hit a significant lull offensively in the second quarter, falling behind by 15 to the Cavaliers.
After overcoming a first-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead, the Lakers let Cleveland score nine straight points. Turnovers were the story for the Lakers; they committed a game’s worth (13) in the first half.
The Cavaliers were led by C.J. Miles, who hit four three-pointers and finished the half with 16 points. Kyrie Irving had 14 with seven assists and Anderson Varejao had 12. The Cavaliers shot 47.7% from the field.
The Lakers got 16 from Kobe Bryant on just 10 shot attempts but shot 40% from the field as a team.
Cavaliers 29 - Lakers 23 (end of first quarter)
The Cavaliers withstood 12 first-quarter points from Kobe Bryant to take a six-point lead into the second quarter.
Coach Mike D’Antoni started Jordan Hill Tuesday night instead of Antawn Jamison, hoping to improve both defensively and on the boards. Hill collected six rebounds, as many as the entire Cavaliers’ roster but the Lakers still trailed after one.
The Lakers shot 60% from the field (9-15) but turned the ball over eight times in the quarter, which led to 15 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers shot 52.4% (11-21).
Cleveland was led by Anderson Varejao’s eight points on 4-5 shooting.
The Lakers start a four-game road trip in Cleveland, visiting the Cavaliers. Point guard Kyrie Irving has been cleared to play, which is good news for Cavaliers’ fans but not for the Lakers.
Irving is one of the best young guards in the league, and even after almost a dozen games off with a broken finger, he probably won’t come back with much rust to shake off.
The Lakers are once again without Steve Nash (leg), Pau Gasol (knees) and Steve Blake (abdominal surgery).
Given how badly the Lakers need a win, they should be able to leave Cleveland (4-17) with a win, but then the Lakers have struggled so badly over the past few weeks, the Cavs may be a formidable challenge.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Cavaliers.
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