Lonzo Ball praises Julius Randle as Lakers' 'enforcer'

LeBron James is nearly certain to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers unless his hometown franchise can win the National Basketball Association championship in June. Playing in front of a sellout Staples Center crowd, including curious celebrities who came out of years of hiding to welcome James, the Lakers blew out James and the Cavs 127-113.

With the win, the Lakers have now gone 7-2 after the All-Star break. It dropped the Cavs to 38-28 on the season.

Cavaliers star LeBron James produced 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but his Cavaliers lost for the fourth time in six games.

James put on his usual stunning display at Staples, including a breathtaking, one-handed pass late in the first half.

It was the first trip back to Los Angeles for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, who were both traded to the Cavs for Isaiah Thomas.

That's a decision that will nearly certainly be made with less fanfare than when James opted to leave Cleveland and sign with the Miami Heat in 2010.

"I have never played LeBron in L.A.", said Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who finished with five points and seven assists. "It is going to be a lot of fun".

James is averaging 53.5 FanDuel points per game this season. But against the team that traded him as if he were damaged goods, Thomas flourished. Randle has really been playing a very high level over the past few months, and that has helped them play as well as they have recently. The world knows what I can do and what I bring to the table.

"I just feel like we've got to treat every team like Golden State".

Ricky Rubio had 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, as Utah overcame Anthony Davis' first career triple-double for a 116-99 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans that extended the Jazz's winning streak to six.

"I think we're learning", Brown said.

It appears that the team will be without him a bit longer as it was announced during Sunday's 127-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that the 20-year-old will be out of the lineup for at least the next two games before being re-evaluated on Thursday.

James, 33, was positive in his short assessment of Lakers coach Luke Walton, which could be read as a neutral observation or a sign of interest.

LeBron James, whose looming free agency is the beacon of all the intrigue, seemed outmatched by the Lakers given the unhealthy status of his current team.

One of the big question marks for the Lakers this offseason will be what they decide to do with Julius Randle.

Vanessa Coleman

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