Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Cavaliers – Game 23

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (10-13) | Cleveland Cavaliers (16-9)

 

The Lake Show lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-102 after also losing Anthony Davis late in the first quarter due to a non-COVID illness

 

Lakers vs Cavaliers
Photo Credit: Ron Schwane/AP

Wenyen Gabriel was not available against Cleveland due to a left shoulder sprain. Darvin Ham told reporters they’d miss Gabriel’s energy off the bench, but he shouldn’t be out too long. He will be re-evaluated in about one week, which means he’ll miss the next three games on the road trip, Wednesday at Toronto, Friday at Philadelphia, and Sunday at Detroit.

For Cleveland, 2021-22 All-Star Jarrett Allen, who has missed five straight games due to a low back contusion, made his return against the Lakers. The Cavs will be without Dean Wade, who has a left shoulder sprain.

It was the same starters for the Lakers in this one with Dennis Schröder, Lonnie Walker IV, Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

To kick things off in Cleveland, Davis went straight to James, who cut baseline for a big-time dunk. But despite the highlight, the Lake Show had found themselves already down 8-2. Davis then got a 3-second technical foul shot to go and immediately earned two more tries at the line but missed both

Cleveland capitalized on all the extra energy in the building with James back in Cleveland, as they got good shots and hit all five. Meanwhile, James had a dunk, but Davis was 1 for three at the free throw line, and the other three Laker starters were 0 for 4.

Allen carved up the Lakers inside without Davis, as so far, he had eight points. Donovan Mitchell hit a three, leaving the Lakers down 10 with 4:44 left to go in the first quarter.

Then all of a sudden, Davis headed back to the locker room. At first, there was no update, and the hopefuls speculated that it was just a bathroom break. However, it was eventually ruled that Davis would not return due to flu-like symptoms. The bright side is that it’s not an injury, and there shouldn’t be anything long-term. But still, his status for the rest of the road trip is up in the air.

Despite not having Davis, the Lakers went on an 8-0 run, and after trailing by as many as ten early, the Lake Show rallied to take a 24-21 lead after a pair of Westbrook free throws, a Thomas Bryant layup, and a Bryant three-pointer capped a 7-0 run out of a time out.

After the first quarter, the Lake Show was trailing by just one point, 27-26, after battling back from down 10. Quite impressive knowing that they didn’t have Davis, who went to the locker room late in the first quarter.

In a stroke of luck for the Lake Show, Caris LeVert deflected a Lakers pass into the basket. Schroder gave the Lakers the lead again after converting on the 3-point play, 41-38.

The Cavs didn’t budge when the ball got swung to Beverley, and for good reason, as he missed the three. But luckily and finally, Allen missed a shot, which was his first miss of the night after starting 7-7 from the field.

James was subbed out to get some rest, but the Lake Show struggled without him. Ham had no choice but to redeploy James to get things going again, especially with Damian Jones being ineffective. James had to play center.

 

At halftime, the score read Cavaliers 57, Lakers 49. It was a bad close to the second quarter, and they found themselves down eight. The Lakers hung around in the first half without Davis but allowed the final five points of the second quarter. They needed to pick things up from the perimeter, but Beverley was 1 for five from three, Walker IV 0 for 4, and Schroder and Reaves both 0 for 2.

 

Lakers vs Cavaliers
Photo Credit: Ron Schwane/AP

With Davis out sick, the Lakers needed to get hot behind the arc to stay in this one. The issue was compounded by Gabriel being out and shooting, not their strong suit at all. But the Lake Show still needed a lift and got one to start the third quarter from Schröder, who had the first seven points for the Lakers.

With no Davis or Gabriel and Jones not playing well, Bryant stepped up with a solid effort, whose put-back dunk tied the game at 65 for the Lakers, who entered the half down 8. Bryant had 13 points with six boards and was a +15 so far. The only other Laker in the positive was Troy Brown Jr. with +5.

The Cavaliers were living in the paint this game. This is where no Davis hurt, but LeVert nailed a three to make things worse for the Lake Show. Add in that Mitchell took over the third quarter, and the Lakers were down 79-70.

But the Lake Show kept scrapping and hanging around, erasing the latest deficit with a 12-2 run capped by a Reaves-and-1. James, at this point, was one rebound away from his season high of 15. He was battling inside all night for the short-handed Lakers without Davis and Gabriel

The Lake Show led 83-81 with 42.7 seconds left before James missed the second of 2 free throws. Darius Garland drew fouls on Reaves and Westbrook and hit all four free throws to put Cleveland up 85-83 heading into the 4th. It was a good battle from the Lake Show as they outscored the Cavaliers that quarter.

It was an 11-6 edge on the offensive glass for the Lakers against the bigger Cavs up until this point—further evidence to support that this team was battling and grinding all night.

Westbrook tried to go through Mobley, and he earned two free throws. No one boxed out Mitchell, and he collected his miss to get the second chance points. After another three from Mitchell, They trailed 97-92. James never had a 20-rebound game, but he had a chance in this one. He was at 16 boards with 6:58 to play.

The Lake Show didn’t have another run in them, but Bryant finally snapped a Cavs 9-0 run. The Lakers went down 113-98 after Mitchell hit another tough three. With 3:21 remaining, Ham should’ve just pulled the regulars early with the Raptors on tap as there was nothing left significant in this one as the final score read Cavaliers 116, Lakers 102.

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Cavaliers
Photo Credit: Ron Schwane/AP

James finished with 21 points, 17 rebounds, and only four assists. Westbrook contributed 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Bryant, off the bench, was electric with 19 points and nine rebounds. Schroder had 16 points but on 1-6 from three. Reaves was a game-worst -20, while Brown Jr. was a game-best +7.

Mitchell exploded for 43 points on 4-8 from three, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Allen, in his return, dropped 24 points on 11-14 from the field, 11 rebounds, and three steals. Garland had 21 points and 11 assists but was held to 1-6 from three.

Davis was the Lake Show’s primary source of rim protection; the Lakers battled without him but just didn’t have enough inside, allowing 70 points in the paint. They came in, allowing just 51.8. Both teams also shot horrendously from beyond the arc, with the Lakers at 16.7% and the Cavs at 25.9%.

James, on trying to replace Davis after he went out, “Next man up, it’s a tall task; literally, it was tough. We had to switch up our whole game plan.”

Ham told reporters after the game that Davis had a 101-degree fever and a non-COVID illness. He tried to push through it but left after just eight minutes. Davis is the only player on the team currently with a flu

 

The Lakers will continue their six-game road trip with a game in Toronto, Ontario, to take on the Toronto Raptors. They’ll face off Wednesday, December 7th, at 4:30 p.m. PT at the Scotiabank Arena. The game will be available on Spectrum SportsNet and TSN.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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