1002 GMT July 22, 2018
Isaiah Thomas had 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds against his former teammates as the Lakers roared away from the defending Eastern Conference champions in the second half with their exciting, energetic style under coach Luke Walton, The Associated Press reported.
“Since Luke took over, they’ve improved every single season, I think,” said James, who had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. “They just try to implement that ball movement, that body movement that he got when he was in Golden State.”
The Lakers’ entire season has been designed to prove their young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and probably Randle could fit splendidly around James, Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins — or failing that, the top free agents in the class of 2019.
The Lakers’ exciting performance against Cleveland underlined that notion, for whatever it’s worth in James’ mind.
“We’re just connecting at both ends, and we’re able to really establish the way that we want to play,” Randle said. “It’s been great.”
With its sixth win in eight games overall, Los Angeles (30-36) emphatically snapped a seven-game losing streak against Cleveland. Brook Lopez scored 22 points for the Lakers, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20.
The Cavs have lost four of six after getting swept at Staples Center by the Clippers and Lakers.
Pacers 99 Celtics 97
Victor Oladipo scored 27 points, then committed a dead-ball offensive foul that gave Boston a shot to win the game at the buzzer. But the Pacers forced Terry Rozier into an off-balance shot and held on to beat the depleted Celtics 99-97.
Myles Turner scored 19 points, including the game-winning basket with 21 seconds to play, and added 10 rebounds for Indiana, who survived the crazy ending to win for the fifth time in six games. When the teams met in Indianapolis on December 18, the Pacers blew a four-point lead in the final 19 seconds, capped by Rozier's steal and dunk – also with 1.5 seconds left.
Boston led by 10 at halftime before point guard Kyrie Irving left the game with a sore left knee, joining absent big man Al Horford, who was home sick, and Jaylen Brown, who is in the concussion protocol.