Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

When Lebron James left for South Beach, he not only took his talents from the Cavaliers, he also robbed them blind of their spirit and pride. It’s incredible to think that just a season ago, this Cleveland team held the best record in the NBA and tonight, they could barely put the ball in the hoop to save their dignity.

12,13,16,16 – These were Cleveland’s point totals for each quarter. After the first 12 minutes, the Lakers led by 15 points. After one half, they led by 32. After the third, the lead had ballooned to 51 points. And by the final buzzer, it was a 55 point win for the home team. It had gotten so unbelievably ugly for the visiting team that the crowd at Staples Center began to cheer when the Cavs got their 29th point.

It’s hard to say how the Cavs might have played if Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao were on the floor. It might’ve been a much closer contest than tonight’s embarrassing display. As much as missing personnel can affect a team’s performance, however, so too can the opposing team’s imposing will, and the Lakers had a lot of it tonight.

From the opening three straight from behind the arc by Derek Fisher and Ron Artest, to Kobe Bryant’s lob to Andrew Bynum for a dunk, to the ease with which they stole possession after possession from the Cavs, it was quite obvious how far the Lakers saw they could take this game and boy did they make a run for it. The home team led in every possible stat column and played relentlessly on both ends of the court until the very end.

Seven Lakers scored in double figures, led by Andrew Bynum’s 15 points on 7-9 plus five blocked shots. Since he came back, Bynum has played like he is making up for lost time and he looks like an absolute beast out there doing it, especially on the defensive end. He refuses to let up, at one point blocking and continuously fighting for the defensive board until the Lakers had control of the ball.

Kobe Bryant, who had only two points going into the third quarter, realized very early on that he probably could’ve stayed home tonight. Bryant wasn’t looking for his shot, instead opting to deliver the ball to a teammate. In one sequence, Pau Gasol stole the ball and handed it off to a lone Bryant by the hoop. And what did Bryant do? He tossed the ball against the glass for Bynum to finish. Bryant had 13 points on 5-10 and eight assists!

And how’s this for a balanced attack for the remainder of the double-digit scorers: Ron Artest – 15 points, six assists; Pau Gasol – 13 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals; Derek Fisher – 10 points, four rebounds, three steals; Lamar Odom – 13 points, five rebounds, two assists; and Shannon Brown – 13 points (three from a ridiculous half-court short at the third quarter buzzer), five rebounds, two assists.

Phil Jackson emptied his bench and for once, in quite a while, the Lakers threw a punch at their opponent and knocked them out…completely. Their new defensive system hummed beautifully tonight, forcing the Cavs into 19 turnovers. The Lakers had 12 turnovers of their own, but consider their 25 assists on 46 made field goals.

Dominant wins such as tonight aren’t easy to come by, but if the Lakers can take anything from this, let it be that when play is focused and full of effort, you give yourselves an even greater opportunity at victory.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
The Cavs have lost 10 games in a row. Think this is a trap game for the Lakers?
Half-time Thoughts: 57-25 – Maybe the Cavs think Lebron is still out there, because frankly, they’re playing like it, not doing a darn thing and perhaps waiting for someone (anyone!) on their team to take over. Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 13 points. For the Cavs, J.J. Hickson led at the half…with five points.
Most Thoughtless Play/Player(s) of the Game: The Cavs, who never scored more than 16 points in a quarter and look dejected and defeated the entire game.
Most Thought-filled Play/Player(s) of the Game: Been waiting a long while to credit this, but this lopsided victory wouldn’t be what it was if not for the Lakers defense.

  • the lakers rock!!!!!!

    hand up all those have seen a beat down like this before!!!
    it got so ugly that i actually felt sorr for byron scott. If i was the owner of the cavs i swear i would seel the team first thing tomorow mornig

  • the lakers rock!!!!!!

    uhhh, that’s hands. sorry, sell and morning ooops LOL!!!!

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  • Sir

    Maybe I missed something, but what exactly is our new defensive system?? I’ll be happy when they’re able to beat down an elite team, like the elite teams have done to us all season.

    • Lakersno834

      Exactly! Talk to me when we beat a legit team.

    • ignard

      I hear what you’re saying but you have to admit what they did to the Knicks was impressive.

  • Deus_Angelus

    Its time for us to take our talents to South Beach and unleash Hurricane Andrew. Lebron the eye of this hurricane is set on you.

  • 242LakerFan

    Well, that was embarrassing. I mean, really how rude! You just don’t treat guests in your home that way. It’s…it’s uncivilized!
    LMAO!!!
    But seriously, how refreshing to see a Laker team take a vastly inferior opponent and really handle them like a vastly inferior opponent! I have never seen a beatdown of this magnitude (obviously, since this is a franchise record for both points allowed and margin of victory) but it certainly is good to see this team take it to a weak team for forty-eight straight minutes. I much prefer this to the usual routine of building a lead then going into cruise mode (or snooze mode) and letting them fight back until the game is closer than it ever deserves to be or even ending up losing the game.
    Yes, it was just the Cavs, who, as Anna pointed out, are the flimsiest husk of the team they were with the King with No Ring, but the Lakers of two weeks ago would have won this game by four or five points after letting them claw back into the game due to lackadaisical defensive play. Good job, coaching staff!
    Relentless effort on D and the inside-out game on O. This is the game plan that gets us Chip 17!
    NWA

    • TOUCHING_MYSELF

      Agreed! The Cavs are mos def not an elite team… alright, they’re barely considered a team even. The fact is the Lakers NOT only won, but ABSOLUTELY ANNIHILATED them! This is definitely NOT something that we would have seen a couple weeks back!

    • cjm

      that game reminded me of the movie “Deliverance”, in particular the scene depicting hill-billy mating practices….

  • DCLakeshow

    What a great win. Not in the sense of competition, but in overall team play…FOR AN ENTIRE GAME. Bynum is getting his legs back and he and Pau are playing really good b-ball together. Hopefully LO keeps up his consistency and KB gets his stroke back, as we head down the home stretch.

    On a side note…am I the only one that thinks Lebron wanted to steal the spotlight from the Lakers whooping the Cavs “college style,” by sending out his little tweet? I mean…wouldn’t that have been more appropriate after MIA beat the Cavs. I couldn’t stand him when he was perceived to be a clean cut “good guy,” and I can stand him even less now. He’s such an attention/media whore. He’s like the Paris Hilton of the NBA. Hopefully we don’t get any wardrobe malfunctions…

    • 242LakerFan

      Eeeewwww!

    • Short Dog Loc

      That’s what I’m talking about.
      Lakers are going to start kicking some ass.
      The media sucks and so do you chipmunk.

      Take that picture off it’s anoying blubs.

      Short Dog Loc
      True Laker Fan
      Kobe MVP

      • WNBAscout

        Paulina playing some sh*tty defense.

  • “laffs atu”

    We should not be priding on this win too much, this is the Lebronless Cavs were talking about. When the Lakers crush the Heat and the Celtics, then I’ll drink to that!

  • sancho

    Good win, but I will be happy when we give an ass beating like this to the Celtics and Heat.

    • Ruin818

      didnt any of you know that when we whoop any team badly enough like tonight, the Lakers never have a good game.. the other team just plays poorly according to the media.

  • Pito

    Jo soy Paulina Gasol y me gusta pito en mi panoche!

    • walo

      jo soy marinero soi capitan puta ka!

      • Pito

        Te gusta manuela?

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    I also felt kind of sorry for Byron Scott and the Cavs. Why did Phil take so long to sit the starters? He put in Smith, Caracter, ebanks w/ 6 minutes remaining. He could of just started them in the 4th instead. I guess he wanted to see a huge win margin.

  • cjm

    tickets for cleveland home games are printed on toilet paper, and handed out at bus station restrooms.

  • WNBAscout

    Breaking News: Pau Gasoft to the WNBA.

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