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Lakers: Andrew Bynum
Cavaliers: Tarence Kinsey, Eric Snow, Delonte West
Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Luke, Lamar and Pau
Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Like assistant coach Jim Cleamons told us before the game, the key for the Lakers is to get everybody involved. Cleveland’s too good in general, and particularly at home (undefeated…) for L.A. not to have everyone on their roster contribute in some way.
12:00 I liked LeBron’s introduction. After his name’s announced and the fans start to lose their minds, he does the double-hand slap and salute with each and every Cavs player.
11:20 After Kobe missed his first perimeter jumper, LeBron hit his. Maybe that’ll make King James feel like he has his shot going from outside and keep him out of the lane a little better?
10:41 Mo Williams for three, with his first “Thanks-for-leaving-me-out-the-All-Star-game-Mr.-Stern” shot. Odom would answer with a nice move around Wallace to make it a 5-4 Cavs lead early.
7:43 Bryant used a nice cut to get inside the defense on consecutive possessions, receiving nice passes from nice-passing Gasol and Odom. If you’re L.A., you love that triangle action.
4:45 What stood out most in the first seven minutes was how effective offensively the Lakers were against Cleveland’s vaunted defense. Lamar and Pau between them were 5-of-6 from the field, generally abusing Big Z and Big Ben, respectively, en route to 10 of L.A.’s 20 points. The Cavs, however, shot the ball well too (8-of-15) to see L.A. take a 20-18 lead into a timeout.
1:34 Ty pointed out that “The Q” (Quicken Loans Arena) has this on their scoreboard: “The Diff.” So, when Cleveland’s up 27-26, it says “+1.” Cleveland’s more of a liberal arts city than a mathematical one. Meanwhile, no team has yet to lead by more than three.
Center of Attention: A big difference, literally, between this game and L.A.’s 105-88 win at STAPLES was that the Lakers had their center (Andrew Bynum) and Cleveland was missing theirs (Z), which is no longer the case. And the Cavs weren’t shy about going to Z, who took eight shots and made five for 12 points; all but one of his shots was from the perimeter.
0:23.5 Wally Szczerbiak, he of the broken nose suffered last game, canned his first three despite having a big mask on his face before Bryant tied the game with two free throws. When Gasol was at the line on the previous possession, the Cavs put a Pittsburgh Steelers logo up on the jumbotron in hopes of inspiring boos. That was solid.
0:00 The quarter closed when Pavlovic converted a solid Anderson Varejao baseball pass for a last-second layup that gave Cleveland a 32-30 lead. Cleveland shot 50 percent, and the Lakers 54.5 in a well-played first quarter that looked nothing like L.A.’s opening stanza against Boston on Thursday. Kobe, by the way, guarded LeBron for almost the whole quarter and held him to 2-of-4 shooting for four points, without a free throw attempt.
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