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Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers’ second unit has been good all season and they were especially effective on Wednesday night. But their valiant fourth-quarter effort just wasn’t enough, as the Lakers clung to an early lead and held off the Wine and Gold rally for the 119-108 win at The Q. Anderson Varejao was the only starter to play in the fourth quarter.
CJ Miles was one of the reserves that led Cleveland’s comeback – netting 27 points on 7-for-15 shooting. Varejao doubled-up with 15 points and 13 boards, adding five assists and a pair of steals. Rookie Anthony Bennett continued his strong recent run – finishing with 14 points and eight boards in just 22 minutes. Tristan Thompson added 13 points and eight boards and Kyrie Irving pitched in with 11 points, six boards, four assists and a game-high four steals.
The Lakers dressed only eight players and had to utilize a rarely-used rule in which a player who had fouled out (Robert Sacre) was allowed back in the game because of a shortage of healthy bodies. (Jordan Farmer reinjured his hamstring and Nick Young left the game with a knee injury.)
Three weeks ago, the Cavs dropped the Lakers at Staples Center by hitting a franchise-record 13 treys. Mike D’Antoni’s squad returned the favor on Tuesday, canning 18 three-pointers in the win.
Turning Point – The Cavs started the second half down 21 points and, at one point, fell behind by 28 in the third quarter. But Cleveland’s reserves began chipping away at L.A.’s lead early in the fourth, starting the final period on a 10-2 run. The Lakers bounced back to bump their lead back to 15, but the second unit fought back to get within six with just under a minute to play. But Steve Blake’s three-pointer and a pair of free throws by Ryan Kelly sealed the Cavaliers’ eighth loss in their last nine outings.
Game Ball – CJ Miles – The Cavs bench finished with 59 points and Miles accumulated almost half of them – going 7-for-15 from the floor, including 4-of-11 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the stripe. The eight-year vet notched 10 points in the second quarter and another 13 in the fourth – adding three boards and three helpers in just under 30 minutes of play.
By the Numbers – 27, 32 … offensive rebounds and second chance points for the Cavaliers on Tuesday night – both season-highs. The offensive rebound output set a new Quicken Loans Arena record and was one short of the franchise mark.
Quotable – Jarrett Jack, on the Cavs fighting their way out of another hole on Tuesday night …
”We put ourselves in a tremendously deep hole in the first half, as we all saw. I tip my hat to those guys who came in and fought and got us back into the ballgame, but that shouldn’t be on them. That’s on the guys that were out there who allowed that deficit to be created. It’s unacceptable.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers have just four more games remaining before the All-Star Break, beginning with Friday’s affair in Washington, taking on John Wall and the Wizards. They return home for a pair of Western Conference foes – the resurgent Grizzlies on Sunday night and the Kings on Tuesday night. The Cavs close out the unofficial first half next Wednesday night when they travel to the Motor City to take on Josh Smith and the Pistons at the Palace.