LOS ANGELES — Most teams would be fazed during a four-game losing streak and without two MVP-caliber players in the lineup.
Not Montrezl Harrell and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harrell had 24 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season Friday night as the Lakers rallied in the second half to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-86.
It’s the Lakers’ first win since LeBron James and Anthony Davis have both been sidelined. James has missed four games after spraining his right ankle on March 20 against Atlanta, and Davis hasn’t played since mid-February due to a right calf strain.
“I don’t think we felt tension. We were more disappointed about falling behind early,” said Harrell, who has three double-doubles in the last five games. “We have to play next man up. We can’t look forward to 2-3 weeks or whenever they come back. We’re not just looking to hold on or keep our head above water. We’re looking to get wins.”
Los Angeles trailed 51-44 at halftime before seizing control in the third quarter, scoring 19 of the first 21 points. Harrell and Dennis Schroder scored five points apiece during the run. Schroder also had a big defensive play when he blocked Darius Garland‘s breakaway layup to help the Lakers hold on to a 57-53 lead.
The Lakers shot 11 of 19 from the field and held the Cavaliers to 3-of-21 shooting in taking a 72-61 lead at the end of the quarter.
“We struggled in third quarters the past couple games and we wanted to make sure this one was ours,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We were flying around, our communication was great and I liked our determination.”
The Lakers largest lead was 19 points in the fourth quarter. Schroder had 17 points and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15. It is the 11th time this season Los Angeles has won after it trailed by double digits
Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. had his fifth double-double of the season – 17 points and 10 rebounds – but was limited in the second half due to foul trouble. He played only five minutes in the third quarter after drawing his fourth foul, which also helped key the Lakers’ run.
“We got great looks, we have to be ready to knock them down. If you don’t make open shots you are going to have a tough time,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The Lakers have championship DNA. We knew they were not going to go away. In the third quarter, they raised their intensity and we have to match that.”
Garland added 14 points for Cleveland while Jarrett Allen had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Nance’s dunk off Brodric Thomas‘ missed layup gave the Cavaliers a 47-37 lead late in the second quarter, but things went downhill from there.