It is always exciting when Kobe Bryant and LeBron James meet on a basketball court. The Lakers are not going to the playoffs this season and the Cavaliers are in a tailspin right now but having Bryant and James on the court makes things better.
The Cavaliers made it a point to get Kevin Love involved early. He got touches around the basket and was able to get to the free throw line nine times in the half. He was only 3-9 from the field but he seemed more active on the offensive end.
Kyrie Irving had a very efficient yet quite 14 point half. LeBron James allowed his teammates to get comfortable early and only took two shots in the first quarter. In the second LeBron attacked the basket and took seven free throws. He missed four attempts in a row but that didn’t stop him from attacking every time he seen Ryan Kelly or Tarik Black guarding him.
At times Cleveland moved the ball around and got good shots but they were not falling. Other than that it was a lot of isolation basketball. The Cavaliers defense looked bad defending the pick & roll. They allowed the Lakers to shoot 58% in the first half.
Kobe Bryant came out passing. He picked his spots but he really got his teammates involved. He had 10 assists in the first half for the first time in his career. Jordan Hill led the Lakers with 12 points in the first half. Bryant kept finding him and he knocked down mid-range jumpers.
The Cavs missed a lot of open three pointers which could have given them the lead in the first half. The Cavaliers were down 61-57 at halftime.
In only his second game back LeBron James sat down early in both the 1st and 3rd quarter. Kevin Love seemed to be bothered by back spasms in the third quarter which forced him to the bench early as well. He needed help getting off the bench but he returned to the game.
Kobe came out and dropped five more quick assists, three of them to Jordan Hill. Kobe missed all three of his shots in the quarter. The Lakers offense stalled in the third quarter and only scored 14 points.
The defense of the Cavaliers was more active in contesting shots. LeBron James got hot in the third quarter and put up 12 points for the Cavaliers as they took a 79-75 lead into the fourth quarter. After getting plenty of touches in the first half Kevin Love did not attempt a shot in the third quarter.
Cleveland used a quick 10-3 early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 11 points and never looked back. LeBron played with more energy on both ends of the floor. He was flying around on the defensive end and hitting tough shots on the offensive.
Kobe returned at about the six minute mark with the Lakers down 11. Although he was unable to lead the comeback it was great seeing him and LeBron guard each other down the stretch. Kobe finished with a career high 17 assists to go along with 19 points and five rebounds.
LeBron James led the way for the Cavaliers with 36 points. Kyrie Irving finished with 22 points as the Cavaliers snapped a six game losing streak. Kevin Love did leave the fourth quarter due to his back spasms. He finished with 17 points.
Next up for the Cavaliers are the Clippers on Friday night.
Next up for the Lakers is the Utah Jazz on Friday night.