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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs hit rock bottom in historic loss to Lakers

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES: All of the anguish from last summer, all of the losses from this season, all of the frustration from two prolonged losing streaks and all the aggravation from a roster ravaged by injuries cumulated into a crashing, reprehensible, resounding thud Tuesday night at Staples Center.

The woeful Cavaliers have finally hit rock bottom.

The 112-57 thrashing at the hands of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers was historic on more levels than the Cavs care to realize. Never in the 41-year history of the franchise have they lost a game so badly. Not in the 17-65 season eight years ago, not during the 15-win season in 1981-82 and not even in the expansion season of 1970-71. That Cavs team lost 141-87 to the Philadelphia 76ers in their 11th game of existence.

This was one point worse.

"In 13 years, I can honestly say I ain't ever felt that embarrassed to be on the basketball court," Antawn Jamison said. "There’s nothing else you can really say."

The Cavs' roster has been wrecked by injuries. They started an undrafted rookie again in Manny Harris, brought another off the bench in Samardo Samuels and Alonzo Gee, last season's Development League rookie of the year, led the team in scoring with 12 points.

But a team that still has former All-Stars in Jamison and Mo Williams shouldn't set franchise records for worst loss, fewest points scored and fewest points allowed by the Lakers during the shot clock era.

"I think that's maybe 10,000 games that the Lakers have (played),'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "So it says something."

The loss was so astounding, it even coaxed a reaction out of LeBron James, who is in Los Angeles with the Miami Heat and will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday in the same arena. James presumably watched the Cavs game on television, or at least heard about the lopsided score as word quickly spread throughout the league.

"Crazy. Karma is a b****," James wrote on his Twitter account before the game was even over. "Gets you every time. Its (sic) not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"

The loss was particularly crushing on Cavs coach Byron Scott, who won three championships with the Lakers. He has since faced them 30 times as an opposing coach, but never saw a team as intimidated to play them as the Cavs were on Tuesday.

"They looked flat-out scared," Scott said of his players. "They looked scared to death."

He told them that at halftime. By then, the Cavs trailed 57-25 and had set a season-low for points scored in a half. He warned them that unless things changed, it would get even worse. It did.

Ramon Sessions (10 points) was the only player other than Gee to finish in double figures. Antawn Jamison shot 3 of 10, Samardo Samuels was 1 of 12 from the floor and Mo Williams finished 1 of 9 for two points, one assist and three turnovers.

"It can't get any worse than this,'' Jamison said. ``If it does, y'all gonna have to help me because I don't know how much of this I can take. This, by far, is rock bottom.

"That's impossible with professional athletes how you lose by 55 points. I don't care who you're playing against."

A few of his teammates were talking quietly and giggling in the corner as Jamison spoke.

"I don't understand how we're able to have conversations in the locker room," Jamison said. "There's nothing to talk about. We have to do some soul searching quick."

The Lakers raced out to a 13-2 lead within the game's first four minutes and didn't let up until the fourth quarter. They scored at least 27 points in each of the first three quarters, while the Cavs never managed to score more than 16 in a quarter. The Lakers' halftime score equaled the Cavs' total for the entire game.

Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum each had 15 points for the Lakers, who benched their starters for the fourth and placed seven players in double figures. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 14 rebounds and Kobe Bryant had a quiet 13 points in 24 minutes.

Scott was a veteran near the end of his playing career when he returned to the Lakers to mentor Bryant, then a rookie. The two have remained close and Bryant acknowledged crushing Scott's team like that left him feeling badly.

"It's a tough situation to be in," Bryant said. "He's like an older brother to me, so it's tough to see him go through something like that."

The Cavaliers have now lost 11 in a row and 21 of their last 22 games. They will take Wednesday off, return to practice Thursday in Los Angeles and then fly to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Jazz on Friday. The trip concludes with a back-to-back Saturday night at Denver.

"No matter who we play, right now they feel like they can beat us," Jamison said. "If we don't have a sense of pride and just play for yourself, this might be one of the worst teams to go through a season. The frustrating part about it is I know we're better than this. Something has to change."

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