Melo propels Lakers to 3rd win in 4, 113-101 over Cavaliers
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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Just a handful of games in their first NBA season as teammates, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony sometimes look like they’ve played together for their entire careers at times.
These 19-year-old veterans still have a lot to give to each other and to the Los Angeles Lakers, who earned their first comfortable victory of the season behind their veteran leaders.
James scored 26 points, Anthony added 24 while scoring six 3-pointers, and the Lakers ended the Cleveland Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak with a 113-101 victory on Friday night.
James and Anthony took control of the Lakers’ third victory in four games, Anthony hitting three 3-pointers to the increasingly loud cheers of his new fans at Staples Center. James missed nine of his 10 3-point attempts, but had eight assists against his former team upon returning from a two-game absence with a sore right ankle.
Anthony is “a threat,” according to James, who has improved to 16-1 in his career against the Cavaliers.
“He’s a sniper,” added James. “One of those guys that doesn’t need a lot of airspace to pull it because it’s a quick trigger. It creates so much space for Russ, myself and AD to work our pick-up magic- and-roll.
Anthony led the Lakers bench in five of his six games with his new team.
Russell Westbrook had 19 points and Anthony Davis added 15 for the Lakers, who have shown signs of exiting from their difficult start to the season. Their defensive effort markedly improved in the second half led to the success of the attack.
“I think we did a solid job,” Westbrook said. “Everyone looking outside wants things to kick in immediately, but that’s unrealistic. … We will keep our loot, keep our spirits up, no matter what.
Rookie Evan Mobley scored 23 points and Darius Garland had 18 points and 11 assists in the third save of the five-game Cleveland road trip.
Ricky Rubio scored 18 and Lauri Markkanen added 17, but the Cavs struggled as the Lakers moved away in the fourth quarter, missing 12 of their first 14 shots and spending almost six minutes between goals on the ground. Cleveland was outscored 25-16 in the fourth quarter.
“I think it was a valuable lesson for us,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said. “When you play against a team of this caliber, you can’t make the mistakes that we made because they will profit from it. “
The Cavaliers’ recent strong streak ended with this effort against the Lakers. Cleveland had beaten three possible title contenders in their previous three games, passing through Atlanta, Denver and the Clippers with impressive efforts from their young team.
The restart of the Lakers’ grand roster continues to be eventful, but this victory was their most encouraging of the young season. After adding 12 new players to its roster and then largely canceling the preseason, Los Angeles has, as you might expect, struggled for teamwork and cohesion on its all-star roster.
Cleveland took an 11-point first-half lead before the Lakers finally got defensive saves led by Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, who have become their defensive stalwarts.
Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro missed his second straight game with left hamstring strain. … Collin Sexton went 2 for 9 and scored nine points. … Kevin Love scored four points in 16 minutes.
Lakers: James didn’t decide to play until a short time before the game. Afterwards, he said his ankle felt better than after the game in which he was injured last Sunday. … Wayne Ellington (left hamstring strain) was technically available, but did not play.
Mobley’s career is off to a good start and he’s shown why in two home games.
Mobley went 10 for 16 and took six rebounds against the Lakers in his second straight game about two miles down Figueroa Street from the Galen Center, where the Southern California native played for USC last season and where her brother, Isaiah, is still playing this winter.
“It was great playing in LA,” Mobley said. “It was a great atmosphere, but I just tried to stay locked in, I tried to stay focused on what I had to do.”
Mobley also had 12 points and 10 rebounds in Cleveland’s win over the Clippers on Wednesday.
“It’s so crazy, because he was playing my son a few years ago,” said James. “It’s getting weirder every day. They have a good one. Cleveland has a good one.
Riders: At the Suns on Saturdays.
Lakers: Host the Rockets on Sunday.
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