Lakers keep raise winning run to 9 games

Damian Lillard
LILLARD: Dropping 30 points and issuing nine assists as the Trailblazers downed the Hornets.

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Lakers are winning and having fun.

The Lakers rallied past the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, 128-99, for their ninth straight win in the NBA.

Avery Bradley buried a 3-pointer to ignite an explosive third quarter run after trailing the entire first half to end the Cavaliers’ two-game winning run at the Staples Center.  

LeBron James scored a game-high 31 points while Dwight Howard recorded 21 points and 15 rebounds off the bench, helping the Lakers go unbeaten in their last nine games while snapping Cleveland’s two-game winning streak.

Kevin Love (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Tristan Thompson (17 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Cavaliers, who had opened a six-game trip with victories at Detroit and Denver.

Love, Darius Garland and Thompson each had a hoop as Cleveland scored the game’s first six points en route to as much as a 10-point lead in the first quarter and a 14-point advantage in the second.

The Lakers rallied within 48-47 by halftime, and they still trailed 56-55 after a Garland layup in the fifth minute of the third quarter.

Bradley’s 3-pointer with 7:38 left in the third gave Los Angeles the lead for good and began a 13-0 burst that also included a three-point play by James. JaVale McGee’s jumper with 5:10 left in the period capped the run and gave the Lakers a 68-56 lead.

The Lakers were up by 14 at quarter’s end and gradually pulled away over the final 12 minutes in the opener of a two-game homestand.

James’ 31 points came on 12-of-16 shooting from the floor. He also found time for a game-high eight assists.

Bradley finished with 12 points, and he was followed by Kyle Kuzma with 11 and Danny Green and Alex Caruso with 10 apiece.

The Lakers outshot the Cavaliers 54.5 percent to 44.7 percent.

All five Cavaliers starters scored in double figures, with Collin Sexton (16), Garland (16) and Cedi Osman (15) joining Love and Thompson in the distinction.

The Cavaliers shot just 7-for-25 on 3-point attempts, with Osman accounting for four of the seven successes. The Lakers hit 11 of 30 tries from behind the arc.

Meantime, Damian Lillard recorded 30 points and nine assists as the Portland Trail Blazers posted a 115-112 victory over the visiting Charlotte Hornets.

CJ McCollum added 27 points and Carmelo Anthony notched 17 as Portland won for just the third time in the past 11 games. Anthony Tolliver came off the bench to score 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting while also collecting 11 rebounds.

Devonte Graham made eight 3-pointers and had 27 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who have lost five straight games and 11 of their past 13. Terry Rozier registered 25 points and seven rebounds, P.J. Washington added 20 points and 11 rebounds and reserve Willy Hernangomez had 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Charlotte lost its 12th straight game in Portland since last winning on March 29, 2008.

Tolliver drained a 3-pointer with 2:11 left to give the Trail Blazers a 112-109 edge. Lillard drove for a hoop to make it a five-point game with 17.3 seconds left before Graham buried a 3-pointer to bring Charlotte within 114-112 with 13.3 seconds left.

Lillard split two free throws with 8.5 seconds remaining, and the Hornets had a chance to force overtime. The play broke down, however, and Graham attempted a last-second 3-pointer, but Portland’s Kent Bazemore got a hand on it to preserve the victory.

The Trail Blazers shot 50.6 percent from the field and made 16 of 37 3-point attempts. Lillard and McCollum each made five 3-pointers.