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Lakers vs. Cavaliers Game Preview: In the court of the crimson king

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The Lakers try to infiltrate The Land.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers broke out of their slump Friday afternoon, but visiting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on the second night of a back-to-back won’t make it easy to maintain the momentum. Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell set the tone in what was a refreshing and much-needed win, and the Lakers will need every bit of their leadership to find their 12th win of the season.

The Lakers’ defense will have its hands full trying to slow down Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron. The Cavaliers’ big three are all averaging over 20 points per game, leading the way as the Eastern Conference’s top dog. The defending champions have the fourth-best offense in the league, averaging 110.8 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.

Yes, they’ll probably put up a much better fight than the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers.

The focus on improving one game at a time should hopefully be re-centered for the Lakers, who had begun to look like a team unsure of what it was trying to accomplish over the last few weeks. With a win out of the way and the losing streak brought to an end, playing winning basketball with a team that’s as healthy as it’s been in nearly a month should be back center court.

As long as they go out and execute as well as they did for the majority of the night in Philadelphia — let’s try and forget the near-collapse to Philadelphia — then it’ll be good to watch the Lakers we were falling in love with battle it out in snowy Cleveland. We’ve seen this group play up to its competition plenty of times this year, which might just let us enjoy this game.

Ice in veins, snow in hands, let’s go.

Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet