December 6, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

LeBron James scores 46 points in Lakers’ win over Cavaliers

LeBron James meandered over to the Cleveland bench where he spotted an injured Kevin Love, his former teammate and friend with whom he won a NBA title. The two shared a multi-step handshake, definitely a coronavirus protocol breaker — but with their history, it could be forgiven.

And of all the people in the building, Love probably knew what was coming next.

With the Lakers and the Cavaliers fighting for an edge in the fourth quarter, James started splashing home jumpers from everywhere, and one of them, right in front of Love and the Cavaliers’ bench, sent the Cleveland forward walking for the locker room.

It was masterful offensive execution, the Lakers running their best possible play over and over again.

“We get out the way,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said.

The Lakers had no business winning Monday. But then again, they have no business having a player as good as James, who lifted the Lakers from an offensive disaster and into a 115-108 win in Cleveland, the team’s 10th consecutive on the road to start the season.

It was the perfect city for this kind of offensive showcase, James making 19 of 26 shots from the field while hitting seven of 11 from three-point range, including a back-breaker from the logo at center court. He had 17 in the first quarter only to somehow get hotter near the finish line, dropping 21 on a helpless Cavaliers defense that watched him hit a trio of three-pointers in a six-possession stretch.

He finished with 46 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

James scored 11 points and assisted on a Davis dunk during the decisive three-minute stretch, an exhibit in evolution for the Cleveland fans who have witnessed his transformation into an all-around offensive weapon.

In 11 seasons with the Cavaliers, James made seven or more threes three times. A city used to being a witness saw him do it for the first time with the Lakers on Monday.

Forget home cooking. Under the health and safety protocols guiding teams as they travel, good luck enjoying that. But maybe the views of familiar streets from inside the team hotel are good enough. Because just like it was Davis’ night in Chicago on Saturday, the Lakers would’ve been sunk without James on Monday.

Still, they might not have stolen the win had if it not been for key contributions from role players such as Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso, who combined to score seven points.

It was Kuzma crashing the offensive glass to extend possessions — he gave the Lakers two chances on one offensive set that eventually led to a Caruso three. And it was Caruso coming off the bench to close the game by locking down Cleveland’s next star, Collin Sexton, getting two steals and keeping him to just three points in the fourth.