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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Final Score: Luol Deng comes up big in 120-118 win

The Cavaliers and Lakers engaged in some basketball activities. It resulted in the final score. Here it is.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Is there a more frustrating team in the NBA? The Cleveland Cavaliers once again did their best to drive me absolutely insane as they took the court for another basketball game. They managed to look like a real team for part of the game and then look like a bunch of sleepy sea turtles for the other parts of the game. Fortunately, the real basketball portions of the game outweighed the sea turtle portions and the Cavs scraped by with a 120-118 win over the Los Angeles Lakers IN REGULATION to secure their 4th road win of the season.

  • The first quarter was pretty solid. The Cavaliers had good activity on both ends and went into the second quarter with a five point lead. Luol Deng got involved early and the chemistry that he has with Anderson Varejao was evident.



This is what the Cavs looked like when they pretended to give defensive effort in the 2nd quarter:Turtle-2291_medium

  • The third quarter was better than the second quarter because literally anything would have been better than that quarter from hell. But seriously, the Cavs definitely picked up the intensity coming out of the locker room. Luol Deng once again started off hot and helped Cleveland erase the Lakers' 6-point halftime lead. The Cavs opened up a nice 10 point lead....but then the Lakers went on another run. And the lead disappeared. (This was a theme throughout the night. Both teams just went on absurd runs)
  • The fourth quarter started and everybody was happy because it meant that the game was nearing its end. But it also meant that we had to watch the Cavs and Lakers try to execute actual basketball strategies down the stretch. The Cavs were up 118-116 with 16.5 seconds left and had the ball. All they had to do was hand the ball to Kyrie Irving and let him make both free throws. But instead, they passed the ball to Tristan Thompson. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT IN THAT SITUATION? He split the free throws and the Lakers had the ball, down three points with a chance to tie. Luckily, Nick Young missed the potential game-tying three and the Cavs won.

Stuff that I thought as I watched this game.

Kyrie Irving had very little impact on this game. He was dealing with foul trouble for basically the entire night and wasn't all that impressive when he was on the court. I hate when Kyrie doesn't show up for games. It happens way too much for a guy who keeps claiming that he's the leader of this team. He scored 13 points in 30 minutes -- but hey, at least he'll be fresh for tomorrow's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Did I mention how good Deng was? He was uncharacteristically awesome from three-point range, hitting five threes en route to a team-high 27 points. He and Varejao combined for some fantastic activity on both ends of the floor and really spurred some of those big runs.

In today's preview, I wrote about how bad the Cavs' defense is on the road. We saw that again tonight. It's really concerning. This team is capable of defending at a very high level, but they only seem to do it at home. When they're on the road, they play defense for short spans but then just stop unexpectedly. Is it because they're so young? Do they just not care? Are they lazy? Am I asking questions? I don't know. But they can't keep playing such poor defense on the road if they want to be relevant at all at the end of the season. They just can't.

Nick Young has all of the swag. The swag store is fresh out of swag because Nick Young has all of it.

Jodie Meeks has never missed a jump shot against the Cavs. Never.

Anderson Varejao is a saint. He had 18 points and 18 rebounds. It's amazing that this team has so many total no-show performances with guys like Andy and Deng in the locker room. Maybe that's what changing the culture is all about and we'll start to see it as the season goes on. But man, it's frustrating now. I can't imagine how Varejao feels.

This win was actually quite important because there's virtually no chance that the Cavs are winning tomorrow. It's the 2nd night of a back to back, the Blazers are 15-4 at home, and they haven't played since Saturday. Hooray for schedule losses!


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