Final Dime: Lakers 112, Cavaliers 57
Manny Harris finished with eight points and six boards in Tuesday's loss in L.A.
Andrew D. Bernstein
Recently, the young Cavaliers had been giving their opponents everything they could handle. But on Tuesday night, the two-time World Champs were just too much for Cleveland – handing the shorthanded Cavaliers their worst defeat of the season, 112-57, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Again without the services of starters Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker, the Wine and Gold were beaten wire-to-wire by Kobe and Co. The Cavaliers didn’t score more than 16 points in any quarter and managed just 25 total before intermission.
Newcomer Alonzo Gee led just two Cavaliers in double-figures with 12 points, going 6-of-12 from the floor – adding eight boards and a team-high three steals. Ramon Sessions pitched in with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, leading the Wine and Gold with four assists.
The Cavaliers shot just 30 percent from the floor, including 1-for-14 from beyond the arc. The Lakers outrebounded them, 53-42, dished 25 assists to the Cavaliers’ 12 and shot 54 percent from the field. Cleveland’s 57-point output marked a Lakers franchise record for opponents low point mark.
“We have to do some soul searching quick, because no matter who we play, right now they feel like they can beat us,” lamented Antawn Jamison, who finished with eight boards, three assists and a pair of steals. “The frustrating part about it is I know what we got in us. I don’t know, but something has to change.”
Seven Lakers finished in double-figures, although none scored more than 15 points. Kobe Bryant played just 25 minutes and was held relatively in check by rookie Manny Harris.
“I thought that was embarrassing…guys look scared – looked flat out scared,” said Byron Scott following the lopsided loss. “You’re playing against the World Champions. Instead of just competing and playing hard as you can, you guys look scared, you look scared to death. That was my take on it. It’s simple as that.”
The Cavaliers will try to put Tuesday’s loss behind them with two more stops on the five-game roadie remaining. Cleveland heads to Utah for a Friday night meeting with the Jazz before heading to Denver to close out the junket against the Nuggets on Saturday night.
2. After spraining his left ankle before the Cavaliers left for their five-game roadie, Daniel Gibson rejoined the team in Los Angeles – taking a seat behind the bench on Tuesday night at Staples Center – and will be with the squad for the rest of the trip.
3. After checking Steve Nash and Vince Carter on Sunday night, Manny Harris drew the unenviable task of guarding Kobe Bryant on Tuesday. Harris held his own in limited minutes against the Black Mamba.
“We know he’s great – he’s Kobe Bryant,” said Harris before Tuesday’s matchup. “And it goes for any great player. I just feel as if they bleed like I bleed. Give them respect, but at the same time, don’t give them too much respect to where you don’t go out and play your game.”
4. Byron Scott went with his 14th lineup of the season on Tuesday night, starting Ryan Hollins and moving J.J. Hickson back to power forward to try to mitigate the Lakers’ size advantage.
5. Alonzo Gee’s 12-point, eight-rebound performance was easily his best as a Cavalier.
6. After injuring his right ankle on Sunday evening, it looked like Christian Eyenga would get Tuesday night off. He made an appearance in the second quarter of Tuesday’s loss, but tweaked it later in the quarter and didn’t return in the second half.
7. Before Tuesday’s game, Byron Scott was eventually hit with the question about considering waiting for the Lakers job to come open rather than taking the Cavs post last summer.
“I wanted to take the best opportunity – which I still think this is,” said Scott. “And when I started having the conversation with Cleveland, I thought that was a great opportunity; a great job no matter what LeBron was going to do. And I’m still happy about my decision. I’m loving it in Cleveland, the fans have been great, the organization’s been great. We just have to get more wins – that’s the bottom line.”
8. Rookie Samardo Samuels got easily his longest run of the season – 33 minutes.
9. The Wine and Gold faced a pair of familiar faces on Tuesday. Joe Smith, who came to L.A. as part of a three-team trade in mid-December, had two recent stints with the Wine and Gold. Shannon Brown, the Cavaliers top pick in 2006, punctuated the evening with a 42-footer buzzer beater to end the third and put L.A. up 51.
10. Some of the celebrities on-hand for Tuesday’s affair included Will Ferrell, Cameron Diaz, Chloe Kardashian, Penny Marshall, Will I. Am, Andy Garcia and Diane Keaton.