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Ill Anthony Davis exits early in Lakers’ loss to Cavaliers


This is what the margins look like.

The Lakers had reignited hope for their season over the last 10 games, refashioning themselves as an Anthony Davis-led juggernaut that warmed up against lesser teams like the San Antonio Spurs before formalizing their rise with wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards at the start of their current six-game trip.

But Tuesday night in Cleveland, the plans had to change, and they had to change on the fly. Davis, maybe the best player in the NBA over the last three weeks, had to leave the court after playing a little more than eight minutes because of flu-like symptoms.

He wouldn’t return.

That left things to LeBron James and Russell Westbrook to figure out, but the undermanned Lakers couldn’t find enough consistent offense and were on a constant search for answers on defense, losing to Cleveland 116-102.

James, who has dominated the Cavaliers in his career, has lost twice to them this season, dropping his record against his former team to 17-3.

Late in the fourth quarter, the fans inside his former home arena chanted “M-V-P” — only this time it was for Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell scored 43 points, one of the biggest offseason acquisitions keeping Cleveland as the best home team (11-1) in the NBA. Jarrett Allen made his first 10 shots on the way to 24 points and 11 rebounds while Darius Garland had 21 points and 11 assists as the Cavaliers pulled away midway through the fourth.

The Lakers made only six of their 36 three-point shots, their worst shooting game of the season from the perimeter. The Lakers are 2-7 when they’ve been below 30% from three.

Cleveland didn’t shoot well from deep either, allowing the Lakers to keep the score close — it was tied at 92 with 8:06 left — until the Cavaliers sprinted through the final horn on a 24-10 run.

James had 21 points and 17 rebounds, Thomas Bryant had 19 and Westbrook and Dennis Schroder scored 16 each.

The Lakers were without Wenyen Gabriel, who suffered a left shoulder sprain.

Gabriel injured the shoulder going for a rebound in the Lakers’ win over the Wizards on Sunday. He’s officially scheduled to be evaluated again in one week, and coach Darvin Ham said he’s optimist the reserve big man wouldn’t be out much longer than that.

The Lakers play in Toronto on Wednesday night.

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