LEBRON James erupted for a game-high 38 points along with 11 rebounds and 12 assists to power the visiting Los Angeles Lakers to a 131-120 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
James, who played for the Cavs for 11 seasons, was 17 of 29 from the field. He came into Monday’s game second in the league in scoring at 29.8 per game in a virtual three-way tie with Philadelphia Joel Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Lakers finished 2-2 on their four-game road trip. Russell Westbrook contributed 20 points and 11 assists for the Lakers, while DJ Augustin had 20 points off the bench. Augustin did not miss a shot from the field (7 of 7) or the 3-point line (6 of 6), as the Lakers shot a season-high 56.4% from the field.
Guard Darius Garland was sensational with 29 points and a game-high 16 assists for the Cavs, who were 3-2 in their just-concluded five-game homestand. Garland has scored 20 or more points in 14 of his last 15 games.
Malik Monk and Stanley Johnson each tallied 12 points while Austin Reaves had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.
All five Cleveland starters scored in double figures, as Lauri Markkanen added 18 points and nine rebounds and Lamar Stevens 16 points. Evan Mobley and reserve Caris LeVert chipped in 13 points apiece while Isaac Okoro scored 12.
Stevens’ putback with 5.5 seconds left handed Cleveland a 97-96 lead after three quarters. However, the Lakers left the Cavaliers in their dust in the fourth.
Mobley inadvertently kicked James in the chin with about 10:41 to play in the first half. That seemed to light a fire under James.
James had 21 points to propel the Lakers to a 67-62 advantage at half time. The Lakers outscored Cleveland in the second quarter, 39-27. Augustin had 17 points in the first half and was 5 of 5 from the 3-point line.
Carmelo Anthony’s baseline jumper with 7:06 left in the first half allowed the Lakers to regain the lead, 46-45, after starting the game on a 6-0 only to fall behind as many as 14 in the first quarter.
Markkanen’s 3-pointer capped a 12-1 run by the Cavs, handed them a 12-7 lead with 7:17 remaining in the opening period. Cleveland’s scoring spurt shortly grew to 31-17. – Reuters