THE Cleveland Cavaliers quickly brushed off a sluggish start to hold off a brave stand from the Los Angeles Lakers, 121-112, on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Kevin Love led the way for the Cavs (21-8), winners of three straight games, with 28 points. But it was LeBron James who set the tone with his 59th career triple-double, tying Larry Bird’s mark, as he had 25 markers, 12 assists and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers, however, was the team that started strong, stunning the Cavs early and leading by nine in the second quarter. But Cleveland went on a 14-4 run near the end of the period to take control at halftime, 63-60.
The Cavs kept pounding after the break, leading by as much as 11 midway through the fourth. But the Lakers kept fighting, cutting the gap to five in the closing minutes, only to run out of steam down the stretch behind a blazing finish from James.
Jose Calderon also scored a season-high 17 points for Cleveland in another start.
Brandon Ingram led the Lakers (10-17) with 26 points, while Kyle Kuzma added 20 off the bench. Lonzo Ball finished with a near triple-double of 13 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.