Lakers handle Cavaliers to extend undefeated streak against teams with losing records

Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

Cleveland took advantage of a sluggish start by the Lakers to take a 10-point lead in the first. They led by only six at the end of the period, due to a buzzer-beater by Kuzma. The 21-foot jumper was Kuzma's only make of seven shot attempts in the first quarter.

The second quarter wasn't kinder to the Lakers and the Cavaliers extended their lead to 14. Back-to-back scores from Jared Dudley cut the lead from 12 to seven.

By halftime the Lakers had cut their deficit to just one. At that point, no Laker had scored in double digits, though Howard had eight points and nine rebounds. Kevin Love scored 12 first-half points while Tristan Thompson added 13 for the Cavaliers, two of which he followed with a little stare-down and some trash talk for James.

Their energy changed after the break. Led by James, they scored 37 points, with James making all four shots he attempted and scoring nine points. Overall, the Lakers made 63.6% of their third-quarter shots. They also outscored the Cavaliers on fast breaks 13-0. They'd started the game with zero fast-break points in the first quarter.

Cleveland, meanwhile, committed seven turnovers in the third quarter, as they dug themselves into an insurmountable hole.


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