Lakers want to maintain energy against Cavaliers
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LOS ANGELES -- Nick Young hopes the Los Angeles Lakers can bring the same fire they exhibited Friday in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center
"Just going in there and feeding off this energy we got (Friday night) and just playing hard from game to game," Young said.
The Lakers (20-49) will need more than just energy if they expect to compete with the Cavaliers (45-23) in a matchup of the Western Conference's worst club against the Eastern Conference's best.
The Lakers lost to the Bucks 107-103 in a heated contest that resulted in the ejection of Young and teammate D'Angelo Russell. Bucks center Greg Monroe also was tossed for shoving Young after the Lakers guard got into an altercation with Milwaukee rookie Malcolm Brogdon.
Although the Lakers got a spark from the tussle, cutting an 18-point deficit to seven heading into the final quarter, they couldn't overcome the Bucks late and fell to their fourth consecutive loss and the 12th in their past 14 games.
"I think the (scuffle) made us more competitive," said Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram, who scored 11 points. "We wanted to take it to those guys. That's how we have to start games. We want energy like that, so we try and do it in practice and bring it to the games."
The Cavaliers are coming off a 108-78 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday at Staples. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue decided to sit his Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
James missed his sixth game and Irving sat after not playing in the fourth quarter Thursday in a win over the Utah Jazz due to left knee tightness. Love returned from a 13-game absence following left knee surgery and is not cleared to play on consecutive nights.
"It's a long season with a lot of games," Lue said. "You're going to have a lot of back-to-back games, everybody in the league does. Whenever you've got to come right into a place and then fly right back out and get on a plane, it's tough. It's been going on for years. It's not the first time we've done it. I think coaches are taking responsibility and looking out for our players and making sure they get proper rest."
James and Love are expected to play against the Lakers. Lue said that Irving would probably be a game-time decision.
Against the Lakers, the Cavaliers have captured four in a row at Staples Center and five overall. They also won the last meeting between the two clubs, a 119-108 victory on Dec. 17 at Cleveland.
The Lakers trailed 96-89 heading into the final quarter, but were never able to launch enough offense to overtake the Cavaliers.
Love finished with 27 points and 17 rebounds, while James added 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Irving contributed 21 points and a career-high 12 assists.
Young paced the Lakers' attack with 32 points.
Updated March 19, 2017