LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant defends LeBron James in the Lakers' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
(Harry How/Getty Images)

Postgame Numbers: Lakers vs. Cavaliers (1/15/15)

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Here is a by-the-numbers look at the Lakers’ 109-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Assists dished out by Kobe Bryant, which set a new career high. In 1,278 games spread across 19 seasons, Bryant had never tallied more than 15 assists — which he reached nearly 13 years ago on Feb. 2, 2002 against the Washington Wizards. The 16-time all-star also pitched in 19 points and six rebounds, making him the second player since at least 1985-86 to reach those numbers in 32 minutes or fewer, along with Magic Johnson, who did so three times.

“When it comes to assists, it’s really the other guys that wind up making me look good,” Bryant said. “They did that tonight. They made shots and got me 17 assists. But it’s my responsibility to get them those opportunities.”

Points scored by Jordan Hill. The center was the main recipient of Bryant’s handouts, as nine of his assists went to Hill. The South Carolina native didn’t let Bryant’s generosity go to waste, as he went 10-for-14 from the field, including 8-for-9 on attempts farther than 10 feet out and 6-for-6 on uncontested shots.

Percentage shot by the Lakers in the third quarter. L.A. had just finished shooting a blazing 58.1 percent (25-for-43) in the first half when Cleveland’s defense clamped down coming out of the break. The Lakers hit just six of their 20 third-quarter shots and missed all four 3-point attempts, while the Cavaliers went 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) to take a four-point lead heading into the final period.

Points scored by LeBron James. The four-time NBA MVP started the game just 1-for-4 from the field and 0-for-4 from the free throw line, but he turned it on from there, shooting 11-for-20 on field goals and 8-for-9 on foul shots the rest of the way. James, who also had a team-best five assists, was especially devastating down low, where he led all players with 14 points in the paint.

LeBron James Shot Chart
LeBron James Shot Chart

“He’s probably the best in this league,” Lakers head coach Byron Scott said. “(He has) tremendous talent. The last couple of minutes — because he was guarding Kobe — Kobe was like, ‘I’m going to guard him, so we don’t get mismatched.’ And (Bryant) did a great job on him. But to ask him to do that for 30-something minutes and then also carry us down on the other end is a lot. You just saw two great players going at it again.”

Shots taken by Cleveland’s starters. Led by James, the Cavaliers starting five fired the vast majority of Cleveland’s 79 shots and scored 93 of its 109 points. Kyrie Irving added 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting, while Kevin Love struggled, going 4-for-12 from the field and 1-for-6 on 3-pointers. However, the UCLA product was able to pitch in 17 points primarily thanks to an 8-for-9 night at the free throw line. Meanwhile, only three players came off Cleveland’s bench and managed just 16 points on a 5-for-9 clip.

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