Game 39: Cavs at Lakers
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Lakers entered the game riding a six-game losing streak. They sure didn't look like a team that was struggling.
They led from wire-to-wire. The Cavs were never in the game. They were sloppy with the ball (16 turnovers) and with their execution.
The Lakers put Kobe Bryant on Cavs guard Kyrie Irving and made him work for everything he got. He had 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He turned the ball over three times.
The Lakers got good news before the game when center Dwight Howard (torn labrum, right shoulder) got clearance from doctors to play. He was the difference in the game. He had 22 points, 14 rebounds and a block. Howard also had seven of the Lakers' 22 turnovers.
The Cavs' bigs played passively in the paint. They wanted nothing to do with the 6-foot-11 bruiser, especially Tyler Zeller. I know he's just a rookie. I also know Howard is one of the best centers in the league. But Zeller looked like he was afraid of Howard.
He ended with six points and five rebounds. He was just 1 of 7 from the field.
I'm not saying he needs to go in and dunk over Howard. But at least compete.
Tristan Thompson wasn't a whole lot better, but at least he had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Things got so bad in the late going, Coach Byron Scott was forced to play Jon Leuer at center. That will only happen when the game's totally out of hand.
The Cavs need to sign a big man to fill out the roster. I threw out Eric Micheal's name the other day. What about JaJuan Johnson of the Canton Charge? He's 6-11, 220. He might not be a center, but he's got to be better than Leuer.
The Lakers played without forward/center Pau Gasol (concussion), guard Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) and forward/center Jordan Hill (labral tear, left hip/herniated disk). Hill is out for the sesason.
Remember, the Lakers still have all-time greats Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in their backcourt. Bryant is the league's leading scorer at 30 per game.
He's playing at a high level right now. Bryant had 23 points and six assists.
The Lakers also got 16 points from ex-Cavs forward Antawn Jamison.
Cavs guard Dion Waiters matched Irving's 15 points. However, Waiters was just 7 of 18 from the field and had a team-high four turnovers. He seems to be settling in to his role as sixth man.
Starter C.J. Miles couldn't make a shot against the Lakers. He was 1 of 9 from the field. He had one rebound, no assists and two turnovers in 17 minutes.
He was really bad.
Daniel Gibson returned from a concussion. He looks like he's been out for two weeks.
The Cavs are now 0-2 on the five-game, 12-day road trip. They traveled to Sacramento after the game for a back-to-back on the road. They are 1-11 on the back end of a back-to-back set this season. They are also just 5-18 on the road this season.
Unless something changes, it could all add up to an 0-5 trip.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Denver on Friday, 98-91.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Sacramento at 10 p.m. Monday at Arco Arena.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Metta World Peace (6-7, 260)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Earl Clark (6-10, 225)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Dwight Howard (6-11, 270)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 222) vs. Kobe Bryant (6-6, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Steve Nash (6-3, 180)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao
Lakers - F/C Jordan Hill, G Steve Blake
Danny Crawford, Courtney Kirkland, JT Orr