The Lakers have very few certainties this year, but the most important is that LeBron James continues at an impressive level. Now 37 and back home in Cleveland, the Los Angeles star destroyed the Cavaliers (120-131) and added a triple-double of 38 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
After surpassing Karl Malone as the second leading scorer in NBA history, LeBron put on an absolute display of offensive resources with some spectacular plays like a dunk over his former teammate Kevin Love.
This time LeBron did not walk alone since the Lakers offered one of their best offensive performances of the course just when the end of the regular season presses.
Russell Westbrook (20 points and 11 assists) and an amazing DJ Augustin (20 points without missing a shot, including a 6 of 6 in triples) accompanied their leader along with other secondary actors such as Malik Monk, Austin Reaves or Stanley Johnson.
Those in purple and gold made 56.4% of their shots and close their four-game tour with a decent 2-2 and, above all, with renewed energy after a vibrant game.
Darius Garland (29 points and 17 assists) was the best of some Cavaliers overwhelmed by LeBron and that they fell apart in the last quarter (35-23).
The LeBron James Show
To stop the Cavaliers, one of the NBA teams that most uses tall men, the Lakers came out with two centers in their quintet: Dwight Howard and Wenyen Gabriel.
From the outset the bet was going well with a promising 0-6 in the first minute, but the Cavaliers reacted immediately.
A resounding 23-5 run for the hosts, with Darius Garland and Lamar Stevens leading the charge, made the Lakers relive some of those first hellish quarters that have abounded this season (23-11 with 5:04 to go).
The first sign that tonight could be different was given by DJ Augustin, electric from the bench and who scored 11 points (3 of 3 on triples) that helped the Lakers a lot before finishing the fourth (35-28).
The visitors had started the duel with a poor 3 of 11 in triples, but LeBron was in charge of sharpening the aim.
In a wonderful partial second, LeBron added 17 points exposing again and again the shortcomings in defense of a Lauri Markkanen who simply could not stop the physical wonder of the Angeleno.
Russell Westbrook joined their avalanche and, with a basket by Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers regained control of the match with solvency (45-46 with 7.06 for the break).
The answer came courtesy of Garland, as slippery as he was smart and who sustained the Cavaliers when the going got tough.
But nobody could stop LeBronwho gave his old Cleveland fans a devastating kill on his friend Kevin Love to put the finishing touch to a remarkable first half for the Lakers (62-67).
“To be completely honest, I hated that it had to be him (because of Love). He is my boy, he is my brother. I hope he is still invited to his wedding, ”LeBron joked after the meeting.
Love didn’t take it badly, before starting the third quarter he grabbed LeBron by the neck between laughs as if that was his only way to get revenge.