I blocked it out of my memory, but I was reminded that the Cavaliers lost to the Kings on Sunday night by 44 points. After that effort, a sight for sore eyes in the depleted Los Angeles Lakers showed up next on the schedule in this 5-game West Coast swing. But, it was anybody’s guess if the Cavaliers would have enough focus or defensive effort to captialize. Well, it was a split decision in that regard, because the offense was pretty spectacular for long stretches, but the defense was atrocious as the Lakers scored out of control in the second and fourth quarters. It was Luol Deng’s impact at both ends as well as a little #DWaitersZone cameo that pulled the Cavaliers through as they eeked out a 120-118 win in Staples Center to improve to 2-1 on the trip. Let’s hit some of the high points.
Offense: not the problem: The wine and gold hit their shots in this game, shooting 47% for the game and a scintillating 13-of-17 (77%!) from the three point arc. They handed out 27 assists (17 of those were in the first half), and they got at least 11 points from six different players. They got to the line 32 times, which is surprising on the road, and they made 25 of them. Five different guys had at least four trips to the charity stripe, and their lowest point total for a quarter came in the first with 28 points. Cleveland hit the offensive boards hard against a mostly-small Laker lineup with 16 of them (11 of those were from Andy and Tristan). [Read more...]