THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers professed no empathy for the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers, only a grim, workmanlike attitude in dispatching the business at hand.
The Lakers humiliated the Cavs while sending them to their 11th straight loss, rolling to a 112-57 victory on Tuesday night in their best defensive performance of the shot clock era.
It was the Lakers’ third-largest margin of victory since moving to Los Angeles, with the two biggest coming in 1972 and 1966.
"You don’t ever imagine something like that," Kobe Bryant said. "You just go out there and do your job and we did it for 48 minutes."
Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum each scored 15 points, while Pau Gasol had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Bryant, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown also scored 13 points for the defending NBA champion Lakers, who led the league’s worst team by 32 points at halftime on their way to winning their fifth in a row.
"I thought that was embarrassing," said Cavs coach Byron Scott, who once starred for the Lakers. "I told them at halftime, ‘You look scared. You look flat-out scared. You’re playing against the world champions, and instead of just competing and playing hard, you look scared. You look scared to death.’ That was my take on it, as simple as that."
Bryant said he "absolutely" felt for Scott.
"It’s a tough situation to be in," he said. "He’s like an older brother to me, so it’s always tough to see him go through something like that."
Reserves Alonzo Gee scored 12 points and Ramon Sessions 10. Cleveland’s point total was a record low by a Lakers opponent in the shot clock era.
"We had a defensive goal," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We wanted to try and limit them to as few points as possible."
The Cavs shot 30 per cent, were outscored 52-28 in the paint and committed 19 turnovers in losing for the 21st time in their last 22 games. They fell to 8-30 overall, 3-18 on the road and 1-5 against the Western Conference.
"It can’t be any worse than this. If it is, someone will have to help me because I don’t know how much of this I can take," said Antawn Jamison, who had six points. "This by far is rock-bottom. It’s definitely by far one of the most embarrassing moments that I’ve been a part of as far as basketball."
Brown hit a three-pointer from just inside halfcourt to end the third quarter and give Los Angeles a 92-41 lead, the first time an NBA team has led by that many after three since Nov. 8, 2001, when Chicago was ahead of Minnesota.
"It’s our job to beat our opponent and it’s our job to even beat them playing badly," Odom said.
The Lakers led 27-12 after the opening quarter and 57-25 at the break.
Since LeBron James’ off-season departure, the Cavaliers have gone from being a perennial playoff team that went 7-3 against the Lakers in their previous 10 meetings to a team struggling with injuries and mounting losses.
And after their acrimonious parting, James seems to be taking delight in his former team’s embarrassing performance. While it wasn’t clear what he was referring to on Twitter, he posted this while the game was getting out of hand: "Crazy. Karma is a b………….. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"
"It’s a decimated team, obviously," Jackson said. "The Cavs are playing with a lot of their regulars out, so they were hurting a little bit. But they stayed with it and they tried to play, and gave an effort and we were there to meet it."
The Cavs were without starting centre Anderson Varejao, who tore his right ankle in a routine conditioning drill. Also missing were missing Joey Graham (right quad strain), Daniel Gibson (left ankle sprain), Leon Powe (right torn meniscus) and Anthony Parker (lower back strain).
Notes: The Lakers improved to 6-2 in the first game of back-to-backs. They’ll visit Golden State on Wednesday. … Gibson rejoined the Cavs in Los Angeles and will continue rehabbing his left ankle sprain as the team travels to Utah and Denver. … Lakers F Matt Barnes had surgery on a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee earlier Tuesday. He’s expected to be out eight weeks. … Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, delivered the ball to centre court before the game.