Coming off a tough loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers looked to get their four-game road trip off on the right foot against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was a close game the entire night, but Los Angeles outlasted Cleveland and won 121-115.
The Lakers got off to a solid start as they rushed out to a 7-0 lead by attacking the rim, though the Cavaliers responded to make it 10-6 early on. LeBron James took a shot to the face about midway through the quarter and trainers had to grab a towel because of his bloody nose. Fortunately, he was able to remain in the game.
Turnovers were a problem for both teams as they committed several unforced mistakes, but Los Angeles was able to stay ahead. However, their defense went out the window at the end of the quarter and the Lakers went into the second trailing 40-35.
Los Angeles continued to stay aggressive by scoring in the painted area, but they gave up too many easy baskets on the other end. Christian Wood trimmed the deficit to four points by knocking down a pair of threes, forcing a Cleveland timeout.
Anthony Davis began to assert himself by scoring deep in the paint, though the Cavaliers kept answering on the other end. Jaxson Hayes also got involved with some easy looks right at the rim late in the second quarter and the Lakers went into the half trailing 71-70.
Davis went right to work to start the third, scoring Los Angeles’ first five points to give them a four-point lead. Cleveland briefly tied the game before Austin Reaves found Davis for a lob to keep the Lakers ahead 85-83.
The back-and-forth nature of the game tilted in favor of the Cavaliers who reclaimed the lead because of Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley. Davis thrived against the single coverage he was gettin defensively, but L.A. went into the final period down 94-93.
James finally scratched from beyond the arc to get the Lakers to the century mark first, though the Cavaliers kept it within striking distance. Even with Cleveland shorthanded, they made sure the game never got out of reach much to the chagrin of L.A.
James and Davis forced the issue by getting into the paint and either scoring outright or getting to the free throw line. Things got tense in the closing minutes as an overturned call and turnover allowed the Cavaliers to close the gap, but Austin Reaves managed to make his free throws at the end and the Lakers held on for the hard-earned win.
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