Thomas helps Lakers to win over LeBron, Cavs
The Los Angeles Lakers upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA as LeBron James and Lonzo Ball did battle on Sunday.
While James (24 points) had a better game than Ball (five points), several other players stepped up big for the Lakers in a 127-113 win.
Julius Randle scored a career-high 36 points, corralled 14 rebounds and had seven assists to key the Lakers (30-36), while center Brook Lopez added 22 points.
Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas, who said the Cavaliers "panicked" in January when they traded him to Los Angeles, chipped in 20 points against his former team.
Thomas did not have anything to prove against the Cavs – he finished fifth in the NBA MVP voting last season with the Celtics, right behind James – but his performance had to feel good. He added nine assists and five rebounds off the bench.
"He's a straight dog," Randle told ESPN about Thomas after the game. "He came out here tonight and wanted to prove something."
The players the Cavaliers (38-28) acquired in return for Thomas – Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson – certainly wanted to put on a good show against their old team-mates. Nance had 16 points but Clarkson had just four.
James had nothing to prove, either, but it was impossible to watch him play in the Staples Center without thinking it could be his home next season. If the four-time NBA MVP declares for free agency following this season, the Lakers are believed to be among the frontrunners for his services.
Hawks forward Taurean Prince scored 38 points (seven of 13 from three-point range) and added seven assists and six boards in a 129-122 loss to the Bulls.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis marked his 25th birthday Sunday with his first career triple-double, although it came in a loss to the Jazz. Davis had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.
CROWDER STRUGGLES FOR JAZZ
Jae Crowder hit just one of his 11 shots off the bench for the Jazz. The forward finished with five points in Utah's win over the Pelicans.
EMBIID DELIVERS HUGE BLOCK
Joel Embiid embarrassed DeMarre Carroll with a punishing block, then got a bizarre bounce to recover the ball.
Toronto Raptors 132-106 New York Knicks
Chicago Bulls 129-122 Atlanta Hawks
Minnesota Timberwolves 109-103 Golden State Warriors
Utah Jazz 116-99 New Orleans Pelicans
Denver Nuggets 130-104 Sacramento Kings
Houston Rockets 105-82 Dallas Mavericks
Indiana Pacers 99-97 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 120-97 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Lakers 127-113 Cleveland Cavaliers
SPURS AT ROCKETS
The Rockets are cruising along with the best record in the NBA, while the Spurs are on the brink of the unthinkable, trying to avoid missing the play-offs for the first time since 1997. They enter Monday seventh in the Western Conference, only a half-game up on ninth-placed teams Denver and Utah.