LOS ANGELES -- A coach the Los Angeles Lakers didn't want and a star player who was only there because of a salary cap incentive they did. And with that combination, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the latest team to find success at the expense of a lost Lakers teams.
This time, at least, the Lakers at least made it interesting.
In their first game since getting blown out by the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers missed a chance to win for just the second time in 12 games by losing 120-118 to the Cavs, coached by former Lakers coach Mike Brown.
Nick Young's 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining would have tied the game at 119, but clanked off the rim and, as it seemed to all night, into the arms of the Cavs.
The Lakers shot 52.4 percent from the field, but were outrebounded 48-35 and gave up 16 offensive rebounds. The Cavs were 13-of-17 from 3 and scored 19 second-chance points.
"Just in big moments when the game could turn," coach Mike D'Antoni said, "we just couldn't rebound and that hurt us tonight."
The Lakers losing spell couldn't come at a worse time, with their next seven games coming on the road.
Against Cleveland, they benefitted from a 40-point outburst in the second quarter that put them up 63-57 at halftime. However, the Lakers were outscored 31-22 in the third and trailed by three going to the final period.
"We had a solid second quarter," Wesley Johnson said. "The third quarter was definitely our setback and we were trying to play catch-up from there." In Luol Deng's fourth game since being acquired in a deal for Andrew Bynum -- an enticing contract for which the Lakers considered trading Pau Gasol -- the former Chicago Bull carried the Cavs, making 5-of-5 3-pointers and scoring 27 points.
Young finished with a season-high 28 points, while Jodie Meeks scored 26 points, including a season-high six 3-pointers.
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