L.A. Times: This was not how the Lakers wanted to start an eight-game, 13-day trip, and it was a game the Lakers didn’t want to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But the Lakers failed to get it done in the clutch when the game hung in the balance and now have lost the two-game season series to Cleveland.
In the process, the Lakers (32-10) and Cavaliers (34-11) are basically tied for the best record in the NBA.
If the Lakers and Cavaliers finish the season tied with the best record and meet in the NBA Finals, Cleveland would have home-court advantage.
The Cavaliers won this game behind the play of LeBron James, who had 12 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter. James also had nine assists and five rebounds.
Kobe Bryant had 31 points, but just four in the fourth quarter. Bryant was 12-for-31 shooting from the field.
Having seen enough, having seen James score consecutive baskets, including a three-pointer, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called a timeout with 5:23 left and put Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol back into the game.
The Cavaliers had opened a three-point lead that was stretched to 85-80 after James scored again. When James scored again, the Cavaliers had an 87-80 lead.