LOS ANGELES – All Cleveland Cavaliers needed to crack their 12-team defeat this season to see their old teammate LeBron James return. Of course, at the team's last match, James did not have a uniform season against Cleveland, dressed in a suit, while his new squad continued to fight without his star. The Cavs seized the opportunity and defeated the Lakers 101-95 on Sunday night.
The Cavs know all about the challenge of playing without James. They have fallen to the last place in the NBA and have already surpassed the total loss of the past season. The Lakers begin to learn and fall without him to 3-7.
By the end of the fourth quarter, when young Kyle Kuzma tried to get the Lakers back in the game, James's new buddies looked very much like the Cavs as they waited for him to be his superman -Kap raised and saved the day.
Only the Staples Center had no telephone booth. James could only watch him working his way back to a groin injury.
Perhaps it was fitting that Cedi Osman, one of James's most beloved teammates and former sergeant, shone the brightest in the city of stars.
Aggressive from the opening top, Osman scored 20 points in 8 of 1
"It feels good to leave the series," said Cavs head coach Larry Drew. "Every time you go through such a circuit, it can be a bit tough for you, I know it physically and mentally for the players, I just want our boys to grow, I want every game we play growing We are not If we play well every game, we will not shoot the ball well every time, but from a wrong point of view, I want us to pass us by, where we make the same mistake again. "
Rodney Hood, played for a minute's limitation because of a sore Achilles, who burned through the pain on the way to an 18-point night. Rookie Collin Sexton scored 17 points, including a sly ride to give the Cavs an eight-point cushion.
The Cavs needed it all because the Lakers later made it a one-game playoff in the fourth quarter before Cleveland scored the free-throw line.
"I've said it before and said it was one of our problems that we did things in spurts and I thought we had a great start this evening and a few bumps in the road, but the biggest one Part, especially in the second half, we were able to hold it and close it, "said Drew. "We came up with the track we had to do and we probably made some mistakes defensively, but we finished and executed them and did what we had to do to win."
On a night when the attack was hard to beat for both teams, Cleveland's contested defense was the difference.
The Cavs, statistically the worst defense of NBA history, held Los Angeles at just 95 points. The first team since Memphis on December 26 failed against the century mark against Cleveland. The Lakers went from 36 to 91 of the field (39.6 percent) and from the 3-point area to 7 of 34 (20.6 percent).
Which team is better without LeBron? On Sunday evening it was the Cavs.
The Cavs finally had the start they needed.
Cleveland built the largest of the game in the first quarter with a 15-point lead, behind a crisp attack that hit 12 of his first 17 strikes. At the end of the quarter, the Cavs had scored 32 points – the third consecutive quarter reached the 30-point mark.
Game of the Game
The Cavs' offense began to wither late. The Lakers closed the gap. After a fourth missed shot Tristan Thompson and Alec Burks fought for an additional possession. At some point Burks tore the ball away from Brandon Ingram before they thundered and then fell into the fans who were sitting at the baseline.
That kind of effort was what Drew had been calling for lately. New Orleans and Houston missed this long distance.
Burk's Offensive Board and Dunk completed a nearly 3-minute scoring drought, squeezing the lead back to seven points.
The Cavs will make their fourth stop on this trip with six games as they play the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.