How Dennis Schroder’s chase-down block changed Lakers’ fate

Cavaliers guard Brodric Thomas is fouled on a layup against Lakers guards Dennis Schroder, center, and Talen Horton-Tucker.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Cleveland’s speedy guard Darius Garland raced up the court after stealing a pass by Lakers center Montrezl Harrell.

Dennis Schroder took off right away, the Lakers’ guard refusing to give up on the play,running at full speed before chasing down Garland and blocking his shot attempt at the rim.

It was determined defensive plays like the one by Schroder in the third quarter that allowed the Lakers to take control of the game, sending them to a 100-86 win over the Cavaliers on Friday night at Staples Center.

When the game was over, the Lakers’ four-game losing streak behind them, the talked turned to Schroder and his all-out defensive effort.

He finished the game with four steals and that one thrilling blocked shot that was a momentum changer for the Lakers.

“His effort is inspiring, and those types of plays,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Friday night on Zoom. “Kenny [Caldwell-Pope] has plays like that. Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] had one tonight that they called for a foul. That’s the care factor that we play with here. That’s why we’re the No. 1 defense in the league. We make hustle plays in transition like that. That’s part of our culture, and Dennis shows that he’s contributing to that.”


Schroder also had contributed 17 points on seven-for-12 shooting, seven assists and five rebounds.

But this game was all about his defense and that blocked shot. He was asked to recall his last chase-down block.

“A while ago,” he said. “It was a while ago.”

The Lakers separated themselves from the Cavaliers because of a smothering defense that held Cleveland to 10 points in the third quarter, the first time L.A. has held an opponent to 10 points or fewer since Dec. 11, 2019, at Orlando.

The Lakers held the Cavaliers to 14.3% shooting in the third, the lowest field-goal percent by an L.A. opponent in any quarter since Jan. 8, 2017, at Orlando.

Cleveland missed all nine of its three-pointers in the third, when it shot three of 21 from the field.

The Lakers had five steals in the third, back-to-back takeaways by Alex Carso and Talen Horton-Tucker and subsequent fastbreak buckets increasing their lead to 10 points and sending them on their way to a much-needed victory.

Highlights from the Lakers’ 100-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

“Yeah, we struggled in a couple third quarters the last couple games. The mind set was to make this one ours,” Vogel said. “This was the one where it’s gonna be the opposite. It’s gonna be the Cavs struggling in the third quarter because we’re gonna have a better defensive disposition, and we want to make sure that we don’t have what happened to us last couple of games in the third quarter happen. And guys came out charged up, really played great defense. Held them to 10 points in a quarter, which is hard to do in this league, and a big factor in the win.”

The Cavaliers scored 51 points in the first half, but just 35 in the second half.

The Lakers held Cleveland to 28.9% shooting in the second half, 12.5% from three-point range. The Lakers forced the Cavaliers into 10 second-half turnovers.

“I think we did everything together,” Schroder said. “We were communicating. LeBron [James] is out. Normally, he does the communication. I think in the second half, all together, just tried to get stops. Communicated. Was scrambling. Got steals, got fastbreak points — easy ones. I think that was the key. Thirty-five points in the second half, that’s pretty damn good.”