The streaking Los Angeles Lakers were competitive early in Tuesday’s game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers when they got a dose of bad news.
Anthony Davis, who had been on an absolute tear over the last few weeks, left the contest and was ruled out because of flu-like symptoms. Without him, L.A. was up against it the rest of the way against a tall and talented Cavs team.
After falling behind 57-49 at halftime, the Lakers hit the boards hard to make it a very close game in the third quarter. But Cleveland pulled ahead in the fourth period, as it continually attacked them in the paint en route to a 116-102 win.
In the end, Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs’ newest star, killed the Lakers with 43 points on 17-of-27 shooting, while center Jarrett Allen added 24 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers will play the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, and if Davis is unable to go, they could be in for another tough night.
Anthony Davis: Incomplete
Davis left the game with 3:53 left in the first quarter due to his flu-like illness. Head coach Darvin Ham said Davis was feeling sick earlier in the day but wanted to try to play. There is no doubt that the Lakers’ superstar big man is a trooper.
In eight minutes, he scored just one point on a free throw while adding three rebounds and two assists.
LeBron James: A-
James didn’t score a lot of points on a night when the Lakers needed him to do so. He went 8-of-17 from the field for 21 points, but he showed great effort with 17 rebounds, plus four assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
With 4:44 left in the final quarter, Ham went with a small lineup that had James playing the 5. At the time, the team was down by just five, but over the next 83 seconds Cleveland went up by 15.
Patrick Beverley: D-
The Cavs practically asked Beverley to shoot the ball from the outside, and he went just 1-of-5 from 3-point range, scoring five points and adding two assists, one rebound, one steal and one block.
Defensively, he wasn’t able to do much to slow down Mitchell or Darius Garland, who scored 21 points and dished out 11 assists.
Dennis Schroder; B+
It was a somewhat odd game for Schroder, as he had no assists, but he helped the Lakers’ cause with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Unfortunately, like the rest of his teammates, he had trouble connecting from long distance, as he was 1-of-6 from downtown.
Lonnie Walker IV: D+
It was an off-night for Walker, which seemed to be symptomatic of the overall offensive problems L.A. had. He shot just 3-of-10 and missed all five of his 3-point attempts, scoring just seven points and contributing three assists.
Troy Brown Jr.: C
On a night where the Lakers needed an all-hands-on-deck effort offensively, Brown didn’t help much. He went 2-of-5 overall and finished with five points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot.
Damian Jones: B
With Davis forced out, Jones got 12 minutes of playing time, his most since Nov. 7. He grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot and scored two points on free throws.
Thomas Bryant: A/A+
Bryant did just about everything he could to help give the Lakers a chance to win. In 28 minutes, he made 8-of-12 shots, including a 3-pointer, and scored 19 points while grabbing nine rebounds, five on the offensive boards.
His effort and work ethic, particularly on the boards and under the rim, are definitely assets for L.A.
Russell Westbrook: B
Westbrook helped keep the Lakers in the game with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, and he even blocked two shots in 26 minutes.
But the rest of his game was somewhat lacking. He had just three assists while turning the ball over four times.
In general, turnovers were a big problem for L.A. It had 16 on the night, but more than that, it was the timing of several of those turnovers that prevented it from getting over the hump.
Austin Reaves: D+
As usual, Reaves did a good job of attacking the rim and absorbing contact, but it simply wasn’t his night. He made just 3-of-9 shots and went 0-of-4 from beyond the arc, scoring eight points and adding one steal.
Kendrick Nunn: F
More often than not, this season has been a struggle for Nunn. On Tuesday he missed all four of his shot attempts and had no positive contributions on the stat sheet.