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Wrap-Up – After getting bombarded from beyond the arc in California’s capital two days earlier, the Wine and Gold turned the tables on Sacramento’s southern neighbors – going 13-for-17 from long-distance and holding off the Lakers in the closing seconds to secure the 120-118 win on Tuesday night in Tinseltown.
Luol Deng led the charge – hitting all five three-pointers he attempted and going 9-for-15 overall to lead both clubs with 27 points, adding five boards, four assists and a steal. Deng, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters were all perfect from three-point range and Matthew Dellavedova went 3-of-5. Waiters notched 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, Irving added four assists and a pair of steals to his 13-point effort and Dellavedova was 4-of-6 from the floor overall.
While several Cavaliers focused on the aerial attack, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson did their best work in the trenches. Andy doubled-up with 18 points, 18 boards and a team-high six assists. Thompson added 15 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Andy notched his 10th double-double on the season; for Tristan, it was No. 17.
The game was back-and-forth for most of the night, including the fourth quarter where the Cavaliers extended their lead to double-figures, 115-105, with 3:16 to play. But L.A.’s Jodie Meeks and Nick Young drilled back-to-back treys to cut Cleveland’s lead to four. Fortunately for the Cavs, Kyrie and Tristan Thompson hit their free throws in the closing seconds to seal the deal.
The Cavs used their three-point shooting to outscore the Lakers, but it was their size that gave L.A. fits. Cleveland outrebounded L.A., 48-35, outscored them in the paint, 46-34, and on second-chance points, 19-6. The Wine and Gold also committed just eight miscues in the game.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers trailed by half-a-dozen heading into the halftime locker room, but Luol Deng flipped the switch in the opening minutes of the second stanza. Behind Deng’s three threes, the Cavs opened the third period on an 11-2 run, eventually extending their lead to 10. The Lakers took back the lead early in the fourth, but by then, Dion Waiters had caught fire and Cleveland proceeded to pull away for the road victory.
Game Ball – Luol Deng – In just his third game with the Wine and Gold, the two-time All-Star set the tone to start the game and the second half. He got the Cavs going with two free throws, a steal and a dunk to begin the game, scoring nine of Cleveland’s first 20 points and getting the assist on two other makes. Deng was even better coming out of the halftime locker room – hitting three straight three-pointers to turn a six-point halftime deficit into a three-point lead less than two minutes into the third.
By the Numbers – 10-5 … Cavaliers record vs. the Lakers since the 2005-06 All-Star Break – the best record by any NBA team against L.A. during that span.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on whether Tuesday’s victory meant a little more in Los Angeles …
”I don’t care where I am, I really want wins. And whether we’re in Sacramento or we’re in Dallas or San Antonio, I want to win.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers play the second half of their lone back-to-back on the trip – traveling up the Pacific Northwest for a matchup with the Division-leading Blazers. After a day off, the Wine and Gold wrap up the trip with a Friday night matchup with the Nuggets in Denver. Looking ahead into next week, the Cavaliers welcome the Mavericks for a Martin Luther King Day matinee at The Q. On Wednesday, Luol Deng faces the Bulls for the first time since his trade when the Bulls come to town next Wednesday. They wrap up their first week back home with a Friday night meeting with Milwaukee at Quicken Loans Arena.
Watch Highlights: Cavs 120, Lakers 118