Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers – December 17th, 2016
UPCOMING MILESTONES: With 28 points, LeBron James passes Moses Malone and moves into 8th for all-time NBA career scoring. With three three-pointers, J.R. Smith accumulates the 8th most in Cavaliers’ franchise history, passing Craig Ehlo.
With the Cavaliers’ big three well-rested after sitting out of a 85-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wine-and-Gold welcome the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers started this season 10-10, but have lost their eight of their last 9 games, with their only win in that streak coming just last night against the Philadelphia 76ers. This game marks the first reunion between the Cavaliers and NBA-champion Timofey Mozgov after the Lakers signed him in free agency to a four-year $64 million contract – Mozgov will receive his championship ring just before tipoff.
On offense, the Lakers haven’t exactly relied on traditional ball movement – they make the sixth least passes per game and have the third highest percent of their shots unassisted. They average the fifth most points off of pull-up shots per game, 21.5, as well. Although they lack ball movement, scoring is well distributed amongst the players – they have five players averaging more than 10 points per game. The Lakers like to play with pace – averaging 101.5 possessions per game, the fourth highest in the league. Their bench has been highly productive for them, averaging 52.1 points per game – the most in the league and nearly half of their total points.
On defense, the Lakers have been lacking as of late. They are allowing opponents to shoot 2.2% above average from the field – worst in the league. In addition, they are allowing the highest opponent FG% less than five feet from the basket. In total, they are allowing the third most points per 100 possessions in the NBA.
Key players to watch for on the Lakers will Lou Williams – averaging a team high 19.1 points per game while coming off of the bench- D’Angelo Russell – averaging 15.0 points and 4.5 assists per game – and Julius Randle – averaging 12.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio.