LeBron James registered his fourth triple-double of the season, and six Cleveland Cavaliers finished in double figures as the defending Eastern Conference champions defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 121-112 at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night.
James, who finished with 25 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds, is now tied with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird for sixth on the all-time triple-double list with 59.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
LeBron 🔥 https://t.co/9KeHgomFPW2017-12-15 02:25:08
Lonzo Ball also nearly notched his third triple-double of the season with 13 points (5-of-11 shooting, 3-of-8 from three), 11 assists and eight rebounds. He also committed six turnovers in the Lakers' second straight loss.
LeBron x Lonzo. #NBA https://t.co/FmSkQigvNX2017-12-15 03:39:00
However, Ball's valiant effort wasn't enough against a balanced Cavaliers lineup.
Kevin Love added 28 points—including 13 in the third quarter—and 11 rebounds, while 36-year-old Jose Calderon continued to thrive as the Cavaliers' stopgap at starting point guard.
Fresh off a 14-point outing in the Cavaliers' win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Calderon poured in a season-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 from three, as he continued to prove detractors wrong, according to Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon:
Joe Vardon @joevardon
So many in the league (looks down at ground, kicks dirt) looked at Koby Altman cross for signing Calderon. He's fit so well over the past 13 games2017-12-15 02:40:29
"He sees his shot, he gets us in our set, he distributes the ball," Love said on Tuesday, per Fox Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton. "He does a lot of very good things and he's been very good at really getting us off to a great start, especially in the first and third quarters."
That held true Thursday.
Although the Cavaliers were a bit lethargic in the first quarter, they came alive and dropped 31 points in the third quarter to stretch their lead to eight entering the final frame.
Calderon's scorching shooting also helped the Cavaliers post a 45-27 scoring advantage from beyond the arc.
Despite that disparity, the Lakers did well to hang tough.
Brandon Ingram led the charge with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting (3-of-4 from three). He picked the Cavaliers apart inside and out in yet another performance that displayed his tantalizing upside, as The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor observed:
Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
Brandon Ingram's flashes of stardom have gone from every two months last season to every two weeks this season. @Lakers' future is bright.2017-12-15 02:53:03
"When I go on the basketball court, I don't think about who's guarding me," Ingram told Mike Trudell of the Lakers official site. "It could be the best defender or the worst defender. I have to have the attitude that I don't think anyone is going to deter me from getting to the basket. Maybe help defense can come over and affect it, but not the first guy."
Kyle Kuzma (20 points), Julius Randle (13 points) and Josh Hart (11 points) were all solid in their own right, but struggles from distance combined with 18 turnovers left L.A. to chase LeBron and Co. throughout the second half.
Now 10-17, the Lakers will be off all weekend until they host the Golden State Warriors on Monday at Staples Center.
The Cavaliers, at 21-8, will be back in action Saturday against the Utah Jazz.