I've never seen anything like this. The Lakers snapped their 7-game losing streak by beating the Cavaliers, 119-108. The Cavs are now on a 6-game losing streak. The team is a mess and I have no idea when/if it will get better. But for at least one night, their terribleness resulted in a truly entertaining and absurd basketball game. Let's dive in.
The Los Angeles Lakers hit all six of their first six three-pointers. They led 36-17 after the first quarter. At one point, they led 30-15 and Wesley Johnson had as many points as the Cavaliers. I'm trying to find other ways to explain how horrible the first quarter was and I cannot do it with words. Here's a picture of me face palming.
This is me watching the Cavs get obliterated by the Lakers right now. pic.twitter.com/m0Gw6AV0NW— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 6, 2014
The second quarter was much much better. Just kidding, it was just as bad. The Lakers scored at will and the Cavs kind of scored a little better than they did in the first quarter. At halftime, the score was 70-49. The Cavs were shooting 37% and the Lakers were shooting 63%. Here's another picture of me watching this game.
Not much I can say about the Cavs other than...Welp. pic.twitter.com/Q68nUTLxRj— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 6, 2014
Did I mention that the Lakers played last night, were delayed getting to Cleveland because of bad weather, and have only 8 healthy players? Ryan Kelly was playing center. Chris Kaman had 4 first half fouls and couldn't come out of the game because THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANYBODY ELSE WHO COULD PLAY CENTER. Naturally, the Cavs just kept shooting midrange jumpers because why not? The Lakers were so shorthanded that there was room for Kaman to take a nap on the bench once he finally got a break.
Here's what Austin Carr tweeted at halftime. Read that without feeling hopelessly sad. This is a man who lives and breathes Cavaliers basketball. He is Mr. Cavalier. And this team is crushing his soul.
It's like a bad dream, can Cavs wake up and change the dream, Lakers will let u back in— Austin Carr (@MrCavalier34) February 6, 2014
CHANGE THE DAMN DREAM, CAVS.
To start the second half, Ryan Kelly did a pump fake, made Earl Clark land on his back, and then flipped in some stupid layup. It was stupid and it went in. Three-point play. But then Kyrie Irving responded with an air ball three-point attempt so there's that.
Nick Young got hurt in the 2nd quarter and did not return for the second half of the game. That meant that the Lakers were down to 7 healthy players. AND SOMEHOW THE CAVS NEVER GOT BETTER. Like, it just stayed the same for the entire third quarter. The Cavs didn't make a run. They didn't start playing better. They didn't lock down on defense. They just played the exact same way for the next 12 minutes. It's mind boggling.
This is a visual approximation of the Cavaliers' gameplan on both ends of the floor:
But in the fourth quarter, the Cavs started to come to life. Anthony Bennett really played with some good energy and the whole team kind of picked it up. Sure, it's probably just because the Lakers ran out of healthy players and were really tired, but let's give the Cavs some credit here. They cut the lead down to 10 points at 100-90. Chris Kaman fouled out and the Lakers had just 6 healthy available players for the final 8 minutes of the game. The Cavs went with their bench unit to get them back in the game. Matthew Dellavedova continues to give this team some weird super Australian energy. They looked SO bad all night, but Delly led the charge in the fourth quarter. Kyrie had barely played in the second half and Mike Brown opted to keep Delly in the game instead of putting Kyrie back in. Some will look at that as a bad thing and a sign of a rift between Irving and Brown...but I liked it. It sends a message. If you play hard, play defense, and play the right way, you'll get playing time. I never thought that Dellavedova's play at the beginning of the year was sustainable, but it's very clear that he brings something important to this team. He needs to play substantial minutes every game right now. #FREEDELLY
In case you were wondering what the main difference in this game was, it was the three point shooting. The Lakers hit EVERY THREE (basically) and the Cavs missed EVERY THREE (basically). Los Angeles was 18 of 37 from three. Cleveland 5 of 33 from three. Wesley Johnson, Kendall Marshall, and Jordan Farmar were a combined 13 of 21 from three. LIKE WHAT?
Ryan Kelly was playing out of his mind and finished with 26 points. RYAN KELLY. 26 POINTS. THAT HAPPENED.
Robert Sacre was drawing charges like crazy. Eventually, Sacre fouled out but the Lakers ran out of players so he had to stay in the game. We entered truly obscure and bizarre NBA rules territory in this game. I'd be more mad about how bad the Cavs played if this game weren't so incredibly ridiculous. Feel free to be miserable in the comments, but this game was pretty hilarious. Fred McLeod couldn't figure out the rules. Pau Gasol was stunned on Twitter.
I've never seen this situation before!! Did anybody know about this rule!? #LakersvsCavs— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 6, 2014
When a team has only 5 available players and one of them fouls out, they stay in the game with an added penalty -- every foul that player commits is a regular foul plus a technical foul. Truthfully, it's not a very harsh punishment considering the fact that the Lakers would have been playing 4 on 5 otherwise.
Oh and Steve Blake had a triple double. 11 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds with a ruptured ear drum. Seriously.
All for one, one for all, this team sucks.
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