Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Cavs – Game 46

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Down seven points at halftime and already having lost four straight games, the Los Angeles Lakers needed some kind of spark to turn things around on Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Lakers vs Cavs
Photo Credit: LA Times

Thanks to Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, and supreme effort on defense, the Lakers ensured that losing streak was no more.

The Lakers held the Cavaliers to just 35 points in the second half as the team got a much-needed 100-86 win over Cleveland to snap the four-game losing streak. The win keeps the Lakers in the fourth spot in the West at 29-17, just one game behind the L.A. Clippers for third.

Harrell led the Lakers with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds, but Schroder was the catalyst for the team in the second half. Schroder finished with 17 points, seven assists, and four steals while also sparking the Lakers with his defensive effort.

 

Defensively, both teams tightened things up as Los Angeles and Philadelphia found little space to operate in their half court sets. The Lakers had issues scoring inside with Dwight Howard manning the paint, and as a result they went into the second trailing 27-24.

 

Lakers vs Cavs
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

The standout play of the third quarter his chase-down block on Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, and he added a between-the-legs assist to Harrell in the quarter as well.

The Lakers trailed 51-44 at half as things looked bleak before they turned it around by outscoring Cleveland 28-10 in the third.

Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 points, three assists, and two steals off the bench, while Markieff Morris chipped in 13 points. Kyle Kuzma, meanwhile, was focused on things other than scoring as he took just seven shots, scoring only four points, but added eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers held Cleveland to just 38.8% shooting, including 19.2% from 3-point range while also picking up 15 steals. L.A. also dominated inside, outscoring Cleveland 58-42 in the paint and forced 21 Cavaliers turnover overall.

If there was one big issue on the night, it was the Lakers’ own inability to take care of the ball. Though they forced 21 from Cleveland, the Lakers actually outpaced them with 23 turnovers of their own. Seven Lakers players had at least two, including all five starters. Schroder was the main culprit with seven, while Morris added four of his own.

Wesley Matthews also finished with nine points and four rebounds, while Alex Caruso had five points and four steals. Former Laker Larry Nance Jr. led the Cavaliers with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists against his former team.

 

Lakers Injury Notes & Rumors:

 

Lakers vs Cavs
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Anthony Davis was re-examined by team medical staff on Friday and continued to advance in his recovery, being cleared to advance his on-court work.

According to the team, that means that he’ll be able to increase his volume and intensity in shooting, dribbling, and position-specific drills.

Davis has been out of the Lakers lineup since February 16th after sustaining a calf/Achilles injury against the Denver Nuggets and was initially ruled out for at least four weeks. The Lakers followed up on March 12th and revealed that AD would miss at least another two weeks. Reports later surfaced that Davis could be held out longer as the team is looking to be overly cautious with the 28-year-old’s health.

With this new update, it is now being speculated that Davis could return in the next two-and-a-half weeks, putting him on track to return sometime in early April. The Lakers have gone 8-10 in the big man’s absence, oftentimes struggling on both ends of the floor.

Wesley Matthews admitted after the win that he and the team have been doing their best to adjust without having their two superstars, Lebron James and AD, available.

“There’s gonna be growing pains,” Matthews said. “You’ve got two of the best players in the game that you’re used to playing with no longer available. So yeah, everybody has to step up.

“We’re still gonna get everybody’s best shot. No one cares that AD and Bron aren’t playing for us right now, and we all got a job to do. That’s winning basketball games, that’s compete. It’s finding a new niche for everybody. We’ve got to find a way to adjust the style of play, find out different ways to win and it’s gonna come out with toughness, come with togetherness and come with just fight and scrappiness.”

 

Andre Dummond Update:

 

It’s far from a secret that the Lakers would like some help at the center position for the remainder of the season. While Marc Gasol has had some upside, he has left L.A. without a true rim protector and rebounder.

It’s because of this that the Lakers were heavily tied to soon-to-be free agent Andre Drummond.

Drummond was removed from the Cleveland Cavaliers rotation when both the team and Drummond decided to either trade him or buy him out. The trade deadline passed on Thursday, and the Cavaliers were unable to find a deal, so he is now being bought out and will become a free agent, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Lakers will be one of the teams most focused on acquiring Drummond, using the starting center position as their pitch. Reportedly, they are fighting to land him over anyone else, and players have already begun their recruitment pitches, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“They are really focused on Andre Drummond right now. I know the Lakers players have been trying to recruit him to L.A. Certainly, there’s an opportunity for him to step right in and become the starting center. That Lakers team has missed the rim protection and how hard it was to get to the basket and get in the paint with Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, it’s been a lot easier this year with Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, and so Drummond gives them that dimension.”

While L.A. is still considered the favorites to land the former Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons center, there are other teams that he will give some attention to. According to reports, Drummond will meet with the Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and Charlotte Hornets before deciding.

 

The Lakers are back at Staples Center Sunday night to take on the Orlando Magic. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. You can watch the game on Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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