Lakers' Third-Quarter Surge Sinks Cavs in L.A.

Wine & Gold Bullied on the Boards, Drop Second Straight in Tinseltown
Andrew D. Bernstein

Wrap-Up -- It doesn’t take Dr. James Naismith to figure out exactly where the Wine & Gold’s recent rash of injuries are hurting the team most.

Playing once again without Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love – not to mention Cedi Osman and Rodney Hood – the Cavaliers couldn’t overcome a 51-37 rebounding edge and were once again bullied in the paint, dropping their second straight contest in Los Angeles, a 127-113 decision to the Lakers on Sunday night at STAPLES Center.

The Cavaliers got off to a slow start but seemed to right the ship after intermission, erasing the Lakers’ eight-point edge and tying the game at 72-apiece with 7:11 to play in the third. But things fell apart near the end of the period as L.A. extended its lead to 19 points -- putting Cleveland well behind the 8-ball for the remainder of the night.

Lakers forward Julius Randle did most of the damage for L.A. – finishing with a career-high 36 points to go with 14 boards and seven assists. But the most painful contribution came from Isaiah Thomas, who started the season with Cleveland before being shipped west in exchange for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson at the Deadline.

Thomas, who appeared in 15 games with the Wine & Gold before the deal, came off the bench to score 14 of his 20 points after halftime – chirping at Cleveland’s bench with each bucket.

The Cavaliers were once again led by LeBron James – who doubled-up with 24 points and 10 boards, going 9-of-20 from the floor to go with seven assists, a steal and blocked shot.

Larry Nance Jr. was the only other Cavalier starter in double-figures – finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds against the team that drafted him out of Wyoming and where he’d spent his first two-and-a-half seasons as a pro.

Three players notched double-figure scoring off the bench – led by rookie Ante Zizic, who notched 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting to go with seven boards. Jose Calderon went 4-of-5 for 14 points in 20 minutes of work. And Kyle Korver went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc to finish with 12 points in the loss.

Jordan Clarkson seemed to be pressing in his return to face his former squad – notching four points, just his third single-figure scoring night in 12 appearances as a Cavalier, going 1-of-8 from the floor on Sunday night.

Larry Nance Jr.


Nance Jr. tallies his seventh straight game in double-figures.

The Lakers shot an even 50 percent from the floor and were 18-of-20 from the stripe – netting at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters and 29 in the fourth. Luke Walton’s squad held distinct advantages in the paint, 62-50, and on second-chance scoring, 18-10.

The loss snapped Cleveland’s seven-game win streak – including the last four at STAPLES Center – against the Lakers.

After winning the first game of the six-game junket, the Cavaliers went 0-for-LA and will look to regroup with three more games remaining before heading home.

Turning Point -- After trailing early, the Cavaliers came back to tie the game early in the third quarter at 72-apiece and then again at 76 with just under five minutes to play in the period.

But Kyle Kuzma gave L.A. the lead right back on a three-pointer and the wheels came off for Cleveland after that. The Lakers would proceed to go on a 22-3 run, capped by Alex Caruso’s layup to make it 98-79.

The Cavaliers didn’t closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

By the Numbers.824 … Rookie big man Ante Zizic’s field goal percentage over his last four games – going 14-of-17 from the floor after getting an opportunity with extended minutes.

QuotableCoach Tyronn Lue, on the Lakers’ third-quarter run that put Sunday’s game away …

”It was a flurry of things, but I just though (Julius) Randle had a good game. I thought he just out-toughed us. He bullied us all night and we had no answer for him.”

Up Next -- After Sunday’s defeat at STAPLES Center, the Wine & Gold’s longest roadie of the season rolls on, traveling to Phoenix for a Tuesday night showdown with the Suns. Two nights later, Cleveland heads to the Pacific Northwest for a Thursday night date with the Blazers. The Cavs close out the 12-day trip on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, squaring off against the Bulls at the United Center. The following week, the Cavaliers return for a three-game homestand – welcoming the Bucks, Raptors and Suns to The Q.

Calls of the Game

#CavsLakers Postgame: Larry Nance Jr. - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.

Cavs at Lakers - March 11, 2018

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#CavsLakers Postgame: Larry Nance Jr. - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 12, 2018  |  02:35

#CavsLakers Postgame: Jose Calderon - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers guard Jose Calderon spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 12, 2018  |  02:25

#CavsLakers Postgame: Jordan Clarkson - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 12, 2018  |  02:52

#CavsLakers Postgame: LeBron James - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 12, 2018  |  02:36

#CavsLakers Postgame: Coach Lue - March 11, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 12, 2018  |  02:23

GAME RECAP: Lakers 127, Cavaliers 113

Julius Randle posts a career-high 36 points, grabs 14 rebounds and seven assists to the lead the Lakers to a 127-113 victory over the Cavaliers.
Mar 12, 2018  |  01:51

Nance Jr. Throws the Hammer Down

LeBron James once again finds Larry Nance Jr. for the emphatic flush.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:10

Featured Highlight: LBJ Lobs Nance Jr.

LeBron James finds Larry Nance Jr. at the rim for the high-handoff finish.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:24

LBJ's No Look Dish to Zizic

LeBron James completely fakes out the defense with his no look dish to Ante Zizic for the dunk.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:22

Clarkson Dimes Zizic for Two Dunks

Jordan Clarkson finds Ante Zizic on the pick-and-roll for two easy slams.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:19

LBJ Strong with the And-One

LeBron James spins on Lonzo Ball and muscles home the layup, plus the foul, in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:27

Nance Jr. with the Putback Slam

Larry Nance Jr. grabs the rebound and goes right back up for the slam.
Mar 11, 2018  |  00:09

Larry Nance Jr. on Facing His Former Team

Cavaliers center Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Saturday's practice at UCLA about facing the Lakers on Sunday.
Mar 10, 2018  |  07:46

Clarkson Discusses Returning to L.A.

Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson spoke with the media following Saturday's practice at UCLA about his return to L.A. and facing his former squad.
Mar 10, 2018  |  03:16

Coach Lue on Playing Through Injuries

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Saturday's practice at the campus of UCLA.
Mar 10, 2018  |  01:50