A second-half takeover allowed the LA Lakers to overcome the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers 100-86. Frank Vogel's men put the clamps on the visitors late in the game and were able to end a four-game slide in the process.
The LA Lakers' half-court defense was the major reason behind their turnaround. The 2020 champs converted defense into offense to outscore the Cleveland Cavaliers 28-10 in the third quarter. In fact, the Cavs had only scored a solitary basket in the first eight minutes of this period.
The LA Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis yet again, while the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the services of star point guard Collin Sexton. Those on the Purple and Gold were able to elevate their game for the win, but the Cavs' couldn't make the most of their opportunities.
On that note, let's look at the hits and flops from this matchup.
#1 Hit: Dennis Schroder (LA Lakers)
Dennis Schroder was the most influential player on the court tonight. He had a stunning run during the first six minutes of the third quarter where almost every shot he took found the net and every pass he made found an open man. Schroder also made a chase-down block on Darius Garland's fastbreak attempt which resembled the kind of play LeBron James is known for.
Schroder was a pest who kept frustrating the Cleveland Cavaliers' players and recorded four steals in the process. His pick-and-roll routine with Montrezl Harrell allowed the LA Lakers to keep the scoreboard ticking in the second half. The German finished with 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
#2 Flop: Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Cedi Osman's season just continues to get worse from bad. The forward has failed to repay the Cleveland Cavaliers' faith in him as he continues to tumble since his sophomore year. Promoted to the starting lineup in Sexton's absence, Osman was largely pedestrian against the LA Lakers.
Osman shot a paltry 2-of-8 from the floor. The Turk's decision-making was questionable as he pulled up for contested shots from distance. He didn't impact the game much on the defensive end either.
#3 Hit: Montrezl Harrell (LA Lakers)
It didn't matter whom Montrezl Harrell was teaming up with, he was simply unstoppable while attacking the rim in pick-and-roll situations tonight. Both Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma kept feeding him as Harrell stamped his authority inside the paint. He was the main reason behind the LA Lakers' second-unit outscoring the Cleveland Cavaliers bench 55-30.
Both Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. struggled to prevent Harrell from crashing the glass as the latter scooped up seven offensive rebounds. He finished the game with 10 rebounds and led everyone in scoring with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
#4 Flop: Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Darius Garland was the lead ball-handler for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the LA Lakers tonight and had a nice first half as his side controlled proceedings. He took some nice shots, made decent defensive reads and set up easy baskets for Larry Nance Jr.
After the break, though, Garland was a complete shell of himself. He blanked out from the field in the third quarter and managed just a solitary basket in the fourth. Garland's chemistry with his teammates also took a hit as he committed costly turnovers during this period. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go with his five assists.
#5 Kyle Kuzma (LA Lakers)
Kyle Kuzma had a Draymond Green-like game for the LA Lakers against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kuzma struggled from the field and managed just four points on 2-of-7 shooting. But he played disruptive defense and was hard to deal with in fastbreak situations.
Kuzma attacked the boards with authority and was also able to play with his back to the basket to create shots for his teammates on the perimeter. He had eight rebounds and seven assists to show for his efforts against the Cleveland Cavaliers.