Game 53: Lakers at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. The Cavaliers need one more victory to tie last year's record of 33 wins - and we're not at the All-Star break just yet. This was an important game to see how they'd respond to the loss at Indiana on Friday. That's where they had their season-high 12-game winning streak stopped. In that game, the Cavs didn't execute their offense. The ball stopped moving altogether and the Cavs reverted to one-one-one basketball. That was anything but the case against the Lakers. The Cavs shot 55 percent from the field, 55 percent from the 3-point line and dished out 31 assists.
2. The Lakers were playing without two Hall of Famers: guards Kobe Bryant (right rotator cuff surgery) and Steve Nash (sciatic pain). Also sidelined were power forwards Jordan Hill (hip flexor strain) and Julius Randle (broken right leg) and guard Ronnie Price (sore right elbow).
3. The Lakers have lost four in a row, as well as 13 of their last 14. They had just seven turnovers in the game, which kept them within striking distance. The Cavs finished 2-0 vs. the Lakers this year. They beat the Lakers on Jan. 15 at the Staples Center, 109-102. The Lakers were 3-12 in January and are 0-4 thus far in February.
4. There was some question whether Cavs forward LeBron James would play. Coach David Blatt said James was a little sore before the game, but decided to play. His injuries are starting to be a bit concerning. We always think of him as being indestructible. At 30 years old, he's not any more. He's human after all.
5. It was good to see old friend Byron Scott, who coached three years in Cleveland from 2010-13. Paul Pressey is on his staff, as well. He was Scott's lead assistant with the Cavs. Scott coached Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao on the Cavs, as well as J.R. Smith in New Orleans. So, he's familiar with the Cavs' personnel. The team he is coaching right now is a glorified D-League team, with a few exceptions. They are not very good. Even with their full complement of players, this team was going to be one of the worst teams in the West.
6. The Cavs remain a half-game back of the Bulls for the Central Division lead. Chicago rallied to beat Orlando on Sunday.
7. Love played out of his mind with a season-high 32 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He made 11 of 18 from the field and 7 of 8 from the 3-point line. He made 5 of 5 3s in the second quarter when he fired in 17 points. Once again, Blatt took exception to the media questioning Love after the game.
UP NEXT: vs. Miami, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Wednesday
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Ryan Kelly (6-11, 230)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Robert Sacre (7-2, 275)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200)
Lakers - F Julius Randle, G Steve Nash
Marc Davis, Karl Lane, Josh Tiven