Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How did the LA Lakers lose in Cleveland last night?

(Copped from my Silver Screen and Roll  game recap)

Going back to Silver Screen and Roll's preseason predictions for the 2012-2013 season, most of us here were concerned with several different issues; a few of us pointed to team health, some asked questions about the coaching staff and a couple writers wondered aloud if the team's pieces were the right fit.

No one--not a single person on this blog, nor many fans out there--thought that the problem would be effort.

The team's early season slump was sent to an all-new low tonight, when the now 5-17 Cleveland Cavaliers thumped the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as it ended.

The Cavs played a modest game to say the least. On the offensive side of the ball, they only shot 44% and a Howard-ian 57% from the stripe. After throwing down a ridiculous 54 first half points, Cleveland was stunningly mediocre for most of the rest of the game, including an unbelievable seven minute stretch at the beginning of the third quarter in which they made exactly one field goal. Part of the reason was a totally impotent bench that without Tyler Zeller's six points, would have gotten completely skunked. Omri Casspi, Jeremy Pargo and Daniel Gibson bricked all nine of their combined shots in an effort that would have left last year's Lakers bench shaking their heads in disbelief.

Amazingly, the Cavaliers caught only eight offensive boards, which is two more than Anderson Varejao's season average. On the whole, the team was crushed by the Lakers' rebounding edge, ceding 11 more to LA, 15 of which were on the offensive end. Cleveland's defense wasn't sterling either, with the squad sending the Lakers to the stripe 40 times. In terms of field goals, the Cavs allowed 54 second-half points to the Show after just 39 in the first half. Finally, they did a terrible job coaxing Kobe Bryant into bad shots, as the Mamba hit 16 of 28 for 42 points.

The Cavs did have a couple of bright spots however, which came from predictable places. Kyrie Irving had a timely return tonight, coming back from injury to drop an amazing 28/6/11 on the Lakers in a seeming 1-on-1 duel with Kobe Bryant. C.J. Miles somehow dropped 28 points, looking like a genuine starter rather than a scrap heap pick-up. Anderson Varejao continued to make his case for the Eastern Conference All-Star team with a fantastic 20 points, 9 boards and 5 assists. However, the rest of the team was a virtual offensive wasteland, combining for 24 points split amongst seven players.

Looking at all those statistics, how could the Lakers have possibly lost this game?

(Check out the rest of the piece over at SS&R!)

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