Lakers defeat Cavaliers in return to Crypto.Com Arena

The Lakers have now won 9 of their last 10 games.

LOS ANGELES — This is the Laker team we were supposed to see all season long.

After a long road trip, the Lakers were back at home and did not miss a beat. The Lake Show kept Donovan Mitchell in check the whole game and used a big run in the third quarter as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers soundly, 116-97.

They ran Cleveland out of the building. The Cavs are a Top 10 defense in the league but the Lakers buried shots all day long to the tune of .563. L.A. scored 32 fast break points compared to Cleveland’s 16.

Los Angeles went on a 21-2 boost in the second period as they tried to put away the Cavaliers early. They did take a 65-56 lead into the break. But Cleveland played with a sense of urgency to start the third, beginning the quarter with a 17-2 assault. The Lakers also felt that way as they immediately the countered the run with 19 unanswered points. The Cavs never threatened again.

What was encouraging to see was Taurean Prince making big shots throughout the contest. The Lakers bench production has been questionable as of late, especially when they only put up two points against Brooklyn. The team still hasn’t gotten all their players back yet so they will need more scoring games like that to keep their opponents honest.

The victory over the Cavaliers was immense as it puts the Lakers into the 8th spot. It’s extremely important; a 7th and 8th seed only requires one win to get to the postseason while the 9th and 10th seed needs two wins to do that.

And these Ws have come a lot easier as of late as they have won 9 of their last 10 games. As previously said, the Lakers seem to be peaking at the right time. With four games left in the regular season, it couldn’t have come at a better period.

D’Angelo Russell led the good guys with 28 points while LeBron James (24-5-12) and Anthony Davis had double-doubles (22 points, 13 boards). The aformentioned Prince came off the bench to shoot 7 for 9, ending with 18 huge points. As for the Cavs, Darius Garland had 26 points to lead them while Caris Levert put in 21 off the pine. Donovan Mitchell only had 10 points off 4 of 13 shooting.

Los Angeles will get a second game of a back-to-back as they face the Timberwolves on Sunday night. The Lakers are 1 1/2 games behind the 6th seed, the Suns, and only a half-game behind #7, the Pelicans. Those two teams are also playing on Sunday and if the Lakers defeat Minnesota, things will become even more interesting than they currently are.