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Lakers overcome fouls, injuries to beat Cavs 119-108

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Sports Editor
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CLEVELAND — The Los Angeles Lakers had just five healthy players on the roster at the end of the game.

And one of them was playing with six personal fouls.

Despite all the wackiness, the Lakers prevailed over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 119-108, on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Lakers (17-32) dressed just eight players and seven of them scored in double figures. The only player who didn’t, guard Nick Young, left the game with a twisted left knee in the first half and didn’t return.

“It was interesting, to say the least,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Center Robert Sacre picked up his sixth foul with 3:32 to play. However, the Lakers’ only player on the bench, guard Jordan Farmar, had his leg iced because of cramping. So, Sacre remained in the game.

“I knew they would attack him,” D’Antoni said. “I didn’t think he would foul that many times to where it would kill us. We had a big enough lead to where I thought we were OK.”

Guard Steve Nash was active, but was in street clothes. He switched to his uniform in the late going.

“I wasn’t going to go to (Nash),” D’Antoni said. “That wouldn’t be fair to him. Jordan Farmar could have just stood out there somewhere, but that wouldn’t have been the best thing.”

Lakers power forward Ryan Kelly finished with a career-high 26 points and six rebounds.

Farmar added 21 points and eight assists, while forward Wesley Johnson had 20 points and nine rebounds.

The Lakers were leading by 18 after three quarters, 98-80, then had to hold on for dear life.

A clutch 3-pointer by Steve Blake with 1:17 left iced the contest. He had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, a game-high 15 assists and seven turnovers.

Guard C.J. Miles had a game-high 27 points for the Cavs (16-33), who have now lost six in a row, as well as eight of their last nine.

Center Anderson Varejao added 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for the Cavs.

Cavs coach Mike Brown benched all his starters for the fourth quarter, with the exception of Varejao.

“That last group on the floor gave us a chance to win,” Brown said. “Maybe we can learn something from what that group did on the floor.”

Brown sent C.J. Miles, Dion Waiters, Matthew Dellavedova, Anthony Bennett and Varejao into the game.

They outscored the Lakers in the fourth quarter, 28-21, and narrowed their deficit to six points at one juncture.

“Our second unit did a heck of a job,” Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said. “They believed they could get back in the game. They fought their butts off.”

Irving said he doesn’t think a message was sent to the players on the bench.

“If I were the coach, I would have played that second unit to the end,” he said.

The ending was an odd one, even for veterans who thought they’d seen it all.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Lakers center Chris Kaman said. “I asked (assistant coach Kurt Rambis) and (athletic trainer Gary Vitti), they’ve been around 30 years and neither one of them have seen anything like that. It was interesting. I don’t think you’ll ever see anything like that again.”

If Sacre had committed another personal foul, he would have been assessed with a technical foul.

The Lakers connected on 18-of-37 3-point goals (48.6 percent), compared to the Cavs’ five-of-33 (15.2 percent).

Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Cavs.

“I liked his assertiveness,” Brown said. “He’s not getting down on himself. He’s just playing the game. When he does that, he can do a lot of things. He will be able to do some things that will wow people.”

Dellavedova finished with eight points, four rebounds and five assists.

“He was a presence on both ends of the floor,” Brown said. “He was a big part of us having a shot at winning the game.

“We had dug ourselves such a big hole, it was difficult for that group to overcome. We wanted this group to have an opportunity to finish the game.”

Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson contributed 13 points and eight rebounds.

Irving was limited to 11 points in 28 minutes.

NOTES: Former Cavaliers legend Austin Carr’s No. 34 banner has been replaced in the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena. It mysteriously disappeared sometime after the wrestling event and before the New Orleans game on Jan. 28. The Cavs replaced the banner in time for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. … Lakers G Manny Harris’ second 10-day contract expired on Tuesday in Minnesota. The Lakers either had to sign him for the rest of the season or kick him loose. They chose the latter. He had 19 points and eight rebounds against the Timberwolves. Harris had two stints with the Cavs in 2010-11 and 2011-12. … The Cavs need locker room leaders in the worst way. G Jarrett Jack might be turning into that guy. “He’s probably our most vocal guy,” Brown said. “His communication skills on both ends of the floor have been pretty good.” … Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni wouldn’t say his team was snake bit with injuries. “We can play better,” he said. “We’re not concentrating on the other things. We have to stay positive.” It seems as if D’Antoni changes his starting lineup on a daily basis. He started Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake in the backcourt, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson at forwards and Robert Sacre at center. Missing are Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, among others. … Blake suffered a burst ear drum recently. “I just can’t talk to him on the left side,” D’Antoni joked. “He’s fine.” … Guard Steve Nash was held out of the game because it was the second night of a back-to-back. … There are no restrictions on minutes on Cavs G Anderson Varejao, who has returned from a hyperextended left knee.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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