Big Three Returns as Cavaliers Rally Past Scrappy Lakers

Kyrie Goes for 46 as Star Trio Combines for 101 Points in Tinseltown Win
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/GettyImages

Wrap-Up -- In the home of the Hollywood blockbuster, it was only fitting that Sunday night would feature three of the league’s brightest stars in a story that saw them overcome adversity for a dramatic finish.

And depending on whose side you’re on – the good guys won in the end.

The Cavaliers weathered three listless quarters and a 40-point barrage by Lakers sophomore, D’Angelo Russell, to rally late past L.A. – pulling away for the 125-120 victory on Sunday night at the Staples Center.

One night after sitting out against the Clippers, the Big Three returned to the lineup – and they did so in style, combining for 101 of Cleveland’s 125 points in the victory.

The Lakers took the lead over a sluggish Cavalier squad early in the second quarter and kept Cleveland at bay until the final five minutes – when the Wine and Gold rallied from 11 down to tie the affair eventually distance themselves from Luke Walton’s feisty young squad.

Kyrie Irving bounced back from a cranky left knee to lead everyone with 46 points – his third 40-point performance of the season – going 15-for-21 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from long-range and a perfect 10-of-10 from the stripe.

As he often does, Kyrie went into “Mr. Fourth Quarter” mode late in L.A. – hitting all three shots he attempted, including both treys, and sinking all six free throws to finish with 14 points in the period.

LeBron James – not to be outdone down the stretch – also finished with 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter.

On the night, the four-time MVP was 13-for-22 from the floor, adding a team-high seven assists, six boards and a steal. James has yet to lose to the Lakers since his return to the Wine and Gold in 2014 – with Cleveland taking its sixth straight win, including the third consecutive at Staples Center.

Kevin Love also returned to the lineup – just his second game back after missing the previous 13 following left knee surgery – notching his first double-double since February 9, tallying 21 points and a game-high 15 boards in just under 26 minutes of work.

The Big Three were the only Cavaliers in double-figure scoring, but Cleveland got strong contributions from elsewhere on Sunday night.

Tristan Thompson, who had a couple teeth re-aligned in a second-half collision with Julius Randle, finished with 10 boards, grabbing six off the offensive glass. And Richard Jefferson was a perfect 3-of-3 in the fourth quarter, finishing with seven big points in the Wine and Gold’s late charge.

Kevin Love


The Big Three stuff the stat sheet as the Wine and Gold outlast the Lakers.

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Kyrie Irving 46 2 3
LeBron James 34 6 7
Kevin Love 21 15 0

For Luke Walton’s squad, it was their 14th loss in their last 16 outings, including five straight overall and eight straight at Staples Center – tying a Lakers’ record for consecutive home losses.

Los Angeles did feature all five starters in double-figures, led by Russell’s career-high performance. The former Buckeye standout finished 14-of-22 from the floor, including 7-of-12 from deep and 5-of-7 from the line. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points and Brandon Ingram pitched in with 18 for a Lakers team that dropped its 50th game on Sunday night.

One night after a cool-shooting performance by Cleveland’s reserves, the Wine and Gold got back on track offensively on Sunday – shooting 53 percent from the floor, canning 13 three-pointers and handing out 19 assists in the win.

Turning Point -- After sticking with the Bucks on Friday night, the scrappy Lakers were determined to test the World Champs on Sunday – and for three-and-a-half quarters, they looked poised to pull off the upset.

But the Cavaliers – who trailed by 11 early in the fourth quarter – began making their move early in the period, with Richard Jefferson scoring seven straight points to get Cleveland to within six, 95-89.

The Wine and Gold continued chipping away at L.A. – tying the game on LeBron’s runner with 5:06 to play and re-taking the lead on Kyrie’s sixth triple of the night less than a minute later.

The Lakers never led again as the Cavs – who shot 72 percent in the period – pulled away for the win.

By the Numbers18 … straight games that Kyrie Irving has scored at least 20 points – the longest active current streak in the NBA. Over that brilliant 18-game stretch, the four-time All-Star is averaging 28.5 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 boards per – shooting .493 from the floor, .389 from long-distance and .928 from the stripe over that span.

QuotableCoach Tyronn Lue, on giving his guys rest on Saturday night …

”They played well against us, but I know our team and the way we are. Sometimes you have to understand it is not a show, but a competition. When we get to LA and play teams like this, we consider it a show instead of a competition. When you get down early, it hurts your confidence and now you got to fight and try to win your game.”

Up Next -- Now halfway through their four-game roadie, the Wine and Gold head for the Rockies next – traveling to Denver to take on Mike Malone’s Nuggets on Wednesday night. On Friday, they come back East – wrapping up the trip in Charlotte against Kemba Walker and the Hornets. Cleveland returns home – but not for long – stopping at The Q for a Saturday night showdown with the Wizards before getting right back on the road, facing the Spurs in San Antonio on Monday and the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday. The Cavaliers wrap up the month of March the following night against the feisty young Sixers at The Q.

Calls of the Game

#CavsLakers Postgame: Kyrie Irving - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.

Cleveland Cavaliers at L.A. Lakers - March 19, 2017

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#CavsLakers Postgame: Kyrie Irving - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  03:58

#CavsLakers Postgame: LeBron James - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  05:19

#CavsLakers Postgame: Kevin Love - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  03:22

#CavsLakers Postgame: Tristan Thompson - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  03:20

#CavsLakers Postgame: Richard Jefferson - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  02:34

#CavsLakers Postgame: Coach Lue - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  03:14

#CavsLakers On-Court Postgame: Kyrie Irving - March 19, 2017

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving spoke with Fox Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton following Sunday's 125-120 victory over the L.A. Lakers at STAPLES Center.
Mar 20, 2017  |  02:06

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 125, Lakers 120

Kyrie Irving scores a game-high 46 points, LeBron James adds 34 and Kevin Love records a double-double with 21 points and 15 boards in Cleveland's comeback win over the Lakers, 125-120.
Mar 20, 2017  |  02:12

James Scores 34

LeBron James scores 34 points on 13-22 shooting with seven assists and six boards in Cleveland's win over the Lakers.
Mar 20, 2017  |  01:54

LBJ Too Strong Down Low - March 19, 2017

LeBron James gets into the paint and finishes the strong bucket, plus the foul.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:17

LBJ Gets the And-One - March 19, 2017

LeBron James backs down the Lakers defense and finishes over them, plus the foul.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:20

RJ Throws the Hammer Down - March 19, 2017

J.R. Smith drops the nice dime to a cutting Richard Jefferson who slams it home with authority.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:10

RJ with the Flush - March 19, 2017

Richard Jefferson takes the nice dish from LeBron James and throws the hammer down.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:09

Kyrie Lobs TT - March 19, 2017

Kyrie Irving gets into the paint and throws the high-handoff to Tristan Thompson who deposits the alley-oop slam.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:15

Tristan Says Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here - March 19, 2017

The Lakers think they have an easy bucket but Tristan Thompson is there to patrol the paint.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:13

Featured Highlight: LBJ Serves up the Poster

LeBron James gets past the Lakers defense and delivers the posterizing slam.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:08

KLove with the Tough And-One - March 19, 2017

Kevin Love gets the Lakers defense to bite on the pump fake and muscles home the improbable shot from the corner.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:09

LeBron Throws the Hammer Down - March 19, 2017

LeBron James blows past the Lakers defense and crushed home the slam.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:08

LeBron with the Fancy Finish - March 19, 2017

LeBron darts down the floor and goes behind his back from the fancy fastbreak finish.
Mar 19, 2017  |  00:09