Larry Nance, Jordan Clarkson return to Staples Center to face Lakers

  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, left, and Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson grapple for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jaron Blossomgame, right, reaches for a rebound along with Los Angeles Lakers center Tyson Chandler during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, left, shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss, left, and actor Arsenio Hall laugh during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Cleveland Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, right, celebrates along with teammates Collin Sexton, left, and Cedi Osman during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James gestures from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, top, shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Michael Beasley, left, shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 101-95. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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LOS ANGELES — Larry Nance Jr. stood near the perimeter of Luke Walton’s pre-game media scrum Sunday night, waiting to be noticed.

His moment came when Walton was asked about Nance.

“Larry does everything,” Walton said. “He’s versatile, he can play make. He will become a good 3-point shooter.”

On that last line, Nance snickered, before hugging his old head coach and heading to see the renovated Lakers locker room.

It was a friendly air to a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers, less charged than the November bout when LeBron James’ return to his last franchise consumed all the oxygen.

With Nance (out with a right MCL sprain) and Jordan Clarkson as former Lakers, there was a lot of pregame chatting between old teammates, friends among coaches and trainers and even stadium staff. It was the first Lakers home game for both players since they were dealt to the Cavs last February. Even the day before, Kyle Kuzma had been anticipating taking on Clarkson in his return to Staples Center.

“I bet Jordan is pretty excited,” he said. “I’m guessing he’s going to try to give it all he’s got. Especially coming back to L.A., playing us.”

The first match-up, which the Lakers won 109-105, was marked by James’ comeback in Cleveland, when he received a much warmer welcome than his first return in 2010 with the Heat. Even though it went smoother, it was still emotionally taxing.

“It was very emotional,” Cavs coach Larry Drew said. “What he had done for the City of Cleveland, his stint there, it was emotional, and everybody was kind of wondering what kind of reception he’d get. And I was really happy to see the fans, they really embraced him being back there.”

James was in the building early for the rematch for the Lakers’ pregame-shootaround, even though he’s missed 10 games with a strained groin. He could be seen pregame meeting with old friends with the Cavaliers, the tension dramatically ratcheted down since he wasn’t available to play.

Larry Drew a fan of Ingram, Kuzma

While the Cavaliers coach had a less stressful job without having to game plan for James, Drew likes some of the other talent on the team.

He singled out Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma as the Lakers who have stepped up in James’ absence.

“Watching them, it looks like Ingram has been more aggressive off the dribble,” Drew said. “Kuzma … I’ve always admired his game from afar. I think both guys have the ability to take their games to another level.”

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