The Los Angeles Lakers embarrassed the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-57 on Tuesday night, setting a new standard for Lakers defense. It marked the lowest number of points ever scored against a Lakers team, and almost matched the largest margin of victory the franchise has ever had. Any way you look at it, this was a drubbing by the Lakers, and it shows that this is a Cavaliers team that is still reeling after trading away LeBron James.
How bad were the statistics for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday? The starting five ended with 23 total points. Yes, that’s right, less than Kobe Bryant averages per game this year (24). For those who pay attention to the very important plus/minus statistics, shooting guard Manny Harris ended up at negative 57 total for the game. That is not going to stack up well against the rest of the league.
On the other side of the ball, the Lakers starters all played 31 minutes or less, giving the bench a ton of time to get on the court. Coach Phil Jackson played all 12 active players on the roster, with only backup power forward Joe Smith not scoring. The five starters all ended at plus 41 or greater in their plus/minus stats, and the bench of the Lakers outscored the starters of the Cavaliers (46 to 23). Those 46 points were almost enough to outscore the entire Cavaliers roster on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers aren’t the same team they were a year ago; losing LeBron James through that famous trade was just the tip of the sword here. Anderson Varejao is out for the season due to injury, Leon Powe is inactive, Anthony Parker has a lower back strain, and Daniel Gibson is inactive right now. It’s not as though they needed depth, though, because anyone who watched this game (like this author) saw that this team has no heart left in them. Maybe it’s the drag of an already long season, or maybe the roster just needs to be flushed.
The Cavs vs. Lakers games were hot tickets for the past seven years, and even this game was packed with celebrities. It didn’t make the game more competitive, though, and these Cavs appear destined for the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Too bad there are ping pong balls that will decide the top three lottery picks, and that means there is no guarantee Cleveland will even be able to tank enough games to grab that top spot.
The Cavaliers are now 8-30 in the 2010-11 NBA season, including an 11-game losing streak they are currently enduring. The Los Angeles Lakers improved to 28-11 with their fifth straight win, keeping pace with the Dallas Mavericks at the top of the Western Conference.