The Cleveland Cavaliers(17-28) had the first half they desired on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers(29-17). They played good defense, holding the Lakers to 44 points, and they shared the ball, 15 assists on 20 field goals. Cleveland led by seven points at halftime, but the second half was a much different story especially the third quarter.
In that third quarter, Cleveland shot 14% from the field, including 0/9 from three-point range, and scored only 10 points. Conversely, the Lakers shot 57% from the field and outscored Cleveland by 18 points in the quarter. Ultimately, Los Angeles would outscore Cleveland by 21 points in the second half and defeat the Cavaliers 100-86 at Staples Center.
The Lakers, who snapped their four-game losing streak on Friday night, were without LeBron James(ankle) and Anthony Davis(calf), but Montrezl Harrell stepped up and had a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cleveland, who was without their leading scorer, Collin Sexton(hamstring), was led by Larry Nance Jr., who had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The third quarter killed the Cavaliers, but according to their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the team got good looks. However, they could not make shots.
“We missed shots,” Bickerstaff said. “I thought we did a good job of moving the ball. You go back in look at how we created shots for one another; we just didn’t make them.”
Nance Jr. added: “We got good looks; we took good shots. We just didn’t make them.”
Cleveland also finished the game with 21 turnovers, which led to 21 points for the Lakers.
“We turned it over too much in the first half,” Bickerstaff said. “But in the second half, we turned it over more at the top of the floor, which gave them opportunities to get out in transition. We just have to be more sure with the ball.”
Tough loss for the Cavs when you consider the start they had, but it’s challenging to win the NBA when you don’t make shots and turn the ball over at a high rate.
Cleveland gets back at it on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings, who beat the Cavaliers 119-105 last Monday night in Cleveland. The Cavaliers finish their four-game road trip on Monday in Utah against the Jazz.
On Friday, the Cavs announced that they have agreed on a buyout with Andre Drummond, who now will become a free agent. Drummond has not played since February 12 after he and the team agreed to have him sit until they can either trade or buy out the two-tIme All-Star.
The 27-year-old Drummond was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit last season on February 6, 2020. In 33 games (all starts) with Cleveland, he averaged 17.5 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 28.7 minutes per contest.