With multiple players out due to injury, the Los Angeles Lakers needed a team effort to start their four-game road trip with a win. And with Anthony Davis leading the way, they got exactly that.
Davis finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals and seven Lakers scored in double-figures as they kicked off their road trip with a 121-115 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The win improved the Lakers’ record to 10-7 on the year.
With Rui Hachimura out, and Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent still recovering from their injuries, Darvin Ham had eight players at his disposal who weren’t rookies or two-way players. Thankfully, everyone stepped up to help the purple and gold come away with a win.
The bench, in particular was excellent, led by Austin Reaves, who finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists. Christian Wood scored all 13 of his points in the first half to help keep the Lakers close. Jaxson Hayes also added 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting night.
In his latest return to his home state and the franchise in which he brought their only NBA Championship, LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. It was a rough shooting night for LeBron, however, as he knocked down just 8-of-23 from the field and only 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Thankfully, the Lakers’ role players stepped up on this night. Max Christie was excellent in his second straight start with 12 points and five rebounds. His defense was also outstanding, as he and Taurean Prince were the main defenders who helped hold Donovan Mitchell to just 4-of-18 shooting from the field. Christie was also the primary defender on Darius Garland, who shot just 2-of-6 before leaving the game due to injury.
The Lakers defense kicked into gear in the second half as they held Cleveland to just 44 points, a far cry from the 40 points they allowed in the first quarter alone. The Lakers also out-rebounded the Cavaliers 44-to-37 and dished out 34 assists on their 47 made baskets. Turnovers were an issue as they gave the ball away 18 times, but allowed just 17 points on those giveaways.
Cleveland was led by Mitchell’s 22 points while Jarrett Allen added 21 and 14 rebounds.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers’ road trip continues on Monday night as they head to Philadelphia to take on one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams in the 76ers.
The road trip will then conclude with a back-to-back against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday and the impressive Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
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