Cleveland, OH— LeBron James posted a near triple-double in his return to Cleveland as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (10-7), as LA escaped Quicken Loans Arena with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-14), 109-105.
This was a game that many wouldn’t have thought that would’ve been as close as the final score showed. It was probably the best game that we’ve seen the Cavs play as a collective unit as the season remains in its early stages and Cleveland could have very much won. Los Angeles really didn’t do a lot well in this ball game to escape with the win. However, there were two things that the Lakers were able to take advantage of against Cleveland to secure the win.
One of the key factors in the Lakers winning was because they had the hometown kid wearing the purple and gold: LeBron James. He finished the contest with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists on 55 percent shooting. James came into the game averaging 31.5 points per game when it came to facing Cleveland.
It had to be an emotional night for James in his return. The fans gave him the ovation that he deserved as his name was called during the player introductions and during the playing of the tribute video the Cavaliers organization displayed during a timeout early in the game. With that being said, he probably thought that this would be a cakewalk and that he would have an “another day at the office” type game.
It almost blew up in his face.
Now James and the Lakers shot better from the field (51 percent to 38 percent) than the Cavs. They also out-rebounded Cleveland (51 to 46) and they dominated in points in the paint (56 to 32). They also finished the game with more assist, blocks and fast break points.
Yet, when it comes to those things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, things such as hustle points, 50-50 balls, and overall effort, Cleveland had Los Angeles beat. The Cavs seemed like the hungrier team in tonight’s contest and not just because Thanksgiving is on the way. In terms of offensive rebounds, Cleveland won that battle 15-7, they only turned the ball over three times and had 15 points off of 15 LA turnovers. Add that with the way the Lakers came out with very little energy to go along with Cleveland’s hustle and the crowd getting behind them, they had a chance to win the game.
It’s safe to say, though, that James, especially in the fourth quarter, didn’t want to take a loss in his return to Cleveland. He made sure to bring it home for the Lake Show. He got the ball where he wanted it, including a huge three to tie the game in the late stages, he took advantage when he needed to and made the right plays for his teammates. That’s another area Los Angeles took advantage of Cleveland.
Since the departure of James in the off-season, the Cavs don’t have a closer that can finish out the game and lead them to victory. However, Cleveland did do a great job getting points by a committee in the game.
Cedi Osman looked spectacular in the contest finishing with 21 points and seven boards on 7-of-13 shooting. He also hit five threes in the game as well. Tristan Thompson also had a great showing against his former teammate James with 14 points and 15 rebounds with 10 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. In addition, Jordan Clarkson was almost the Cavs closer in this contest as he dropped 20 points off the bench.
Cleveland was up by as much as nine in the fourth. But with no closer and James just having enough of the fans believing that they were going to steal a victory, the Lakers finished the game on an 18-6 run to pull away with the four-point win.
Give much credit to not only the Cavs but the city of Cleveland. The fans did not allow the return of James to be a sour one reminiscent of his return eight years ago when he left for Miami. They understood that James had nothing more left to prove and he won the city a championship as he promised and instead of hate, they gave thanks.
The Cavaliers also gave a great showing tonight, giving James a run for his money and collectively played well. But it would be LeBron James, the kid from Akron, that would have the last laugh in this contest and left victorious.
The Lakers head back home to face the Utah Jazz on Nov. 23. On the opposing end, the Cavaliers will get on the road to face the Philadelphia 76ers.