The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, were here at Staples Center to take on the L.A. Lakers. The Cave are having troubles of their own this season. LeBron James missed two games due to knee pain , but even when he returned they lost to the Phoenix Suns in a game that had many people wondering, “what’s wrong with Cleveland.” The Cavs record coming into this game was 19-20, which is better than the Lakers, but Cleveland had a six-game losing streak to get over. The Lakers themselves are still struggling this season. They’ve won only two of their last seven games and last night they could have won as well, if they played at their best. Like all of their games this season, it was a tough battle, but fans were looking for the match up between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, two of the best players to ever play in the NBA. Bryant is in the last years — or maybe the last year — of his playing career so many were wondering if this was one of the last times we would be seeing LeBron James and Kobe Bryant on the court playing a professional, regular season basketball game. After 19 years in the league, Bryant isn’t the player he was in ahis prime. But we got moments when his playing brilliance came through. For most of the game Bryant was the Lakers’ point guard. Along with his 19 points Bryant had 17 assists. He may not be the scoring machine he was just a few years ago, but Bryant still has a big impact on his team.
With the Cavaliers suited up on the other end of the sidelines, the fans were there to see Bryant and James go at it one-on-one — almost. There were always eight other people on the court, but everyone was watching the game James and Bryant The two matched up against each other often enough that the fans in the stands got the show they waited to see. For three quarters it was a close game. The Cavs took the lead to start the game, holding onto it for almost ten minutes with great play by the ailing Kevin Love. He’s been having back spasms and at one point in the second half needed help standing so he could get back in the game. The Lakers closed the gap in the first quarter with good defense and better shooting from Jordan Hill. He made five baskets in the first six minutes of the game. Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer Ronnie Price and Tariq Black also contributed to the Lakers’ first quarter, which ended in a tie. The Lakers kept pushing and despite a poor shooting percentage, L.A. was able to overtake Cleveland. When the first half ended the Lakers were ahead, 61-57 with balanced play from eight different Lakers scoring, including Nick Young who has struggled with his offense in recent weeks.
But in the second half the Cavaliers began asserting themselves again. LeBron James had 12 points in the first half, but in the third quarter he put in another 13 and then added 11 in the fourth, to finish the night with 36 points. The Cavaliers had three other players finish with double digit scoring: Kyrie Irving with 22, Kevin Love with 17 and J.R. Smith had 14. As a result the Lakers had another long night. In the second half they were unable to get their game together. Some players had bright moments, especially Bryant when he matched up against his friend LeBron James, and the times Jordan Hill was able to drive to the basket or sink some long range shots, but they didn’t play like a well organized team. Jordan Hill finished the game with 20 points and six rebounds, to go with Kobe Bryant’s 19 points, 17 assists and six rebounds. Nick Young went four for 13 and finished with 14 points. Jeremy Lin was barely head from all night. He played 15 minutes with nine points, three assists and two rebounds, one of which was on the offensive boards. The final score was Cleveland 109 and the Lakers 102.
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The Cavaliers will be back at Staples Center Friday Night when they meet the Clippers. Can they win two in a row at Staples? The Clippers are a much better team than the Lakers and they are coming off a big win over the Trailblazers in Portland. The Clippers will definitely be ready to protect their court. Plus they just added the coach’s son to their roster. Austin Rivers, son of head coach “Doc” Rivers — and his wife Kristen — was acquired in a trade that sent a future draft pick and Chris Douglas-Roberts to the Boston Celtics and Reggie Bullock to the Phoenix Suns for Austin Rivers. L.A. also put Jordan Farmar on waivers.
The Clippers want to beef up their second unit with players with proven consistency off the bench. Right now the only second unit player who does that for them is Jamal Crawford, who usually scores in double digits. His season average right now is just under 16 points per game and his free throw percentage is just shy of 91 percent. Austin Rivers is a point guard and brings a 6.8 points per game average with him. His dad expects him to be the back up to Chris Paul so he will be getting 12-20 minutes per game. “Doc” and Austin Rivers will be the first ever father-son duo to play on the same NBA team at the same time. The Lakers will be in Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz Friday. That will be an evenly matched game; Utah is just a game and a half ahead of the Lakers.
(All photos by Claudia Gestro)
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.