Kobe Bryant and LeBron James tussled to a virtual standoff Monday
night. But Bryant's supporting cast was far more effective, and that
was the difference as the Los Angeles Lakers beat Cleveland 105-88 to
snap a five-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.
Bryant had 20
points, six rebounds and 12 assists while shooting 9-of-22. Pau Gasol
led Los Angeles with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Andrew Bynum and Sasha
Vujacic scored 14 points each and Derek Fisher added 11 for the Lakers,
whose 32-8 record is tops in the Western Conference.
James had 23
points and nine rebounds, but shot just 9-of-25. Mo Williams added 16
points, six rebounds and five assists and Sasha Pavlovic scored 12 for
the Cavaliers (31-8), who absorbed their most one-sided loss of the
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Bryant scored nine points during a 16-7 run to start the
fourth quarter, giving the Lakers a 91-73 lead with 6:35 remaining. But
just when the game seemed out of reach, the Cavaliers scored 11
straight points in three minutes to make it 91-84.
A jumper by
Fisher ended the drought, and after a foul shot by James, Gasol scored
on a dunk and Trevor Ariza made a 3-pointer to give the Lakers a
13-point lead, and the Cavaliers went quietly after that.
scored eight points and Bryant added six during a 22-10 run that gave
the Lakers a 75-64 lead — largest of the game for either team to that
stage. It was 75-66 entering the fourth quarter.
scored seven straight points to give Cleveland a 38-37 lead, and the
Cavaliers led 50-49 at halftime. James shot 4-of-11 and scored 10
points in the half while Bryant went 2-of-5 including a 15-footer with
less than a second left in the half for five points, but he had six
Bryant began the game guarding James, and the fans reacted with a murmur of anticipation when they saw the matchup.
guarded by Pavlovic early on, dislocated the ring finger on his
shooting hand in the opening two minutes, but trainer Gary Vitti popped
it back into place and Bryant played on without coming out of the game
or showing any ill effects.
Notes:@ Lakers F Luke Walton (injured
right foot) missed his ninth straight game, although coach Phil Jackson
said before the game that Walton was available. ... With Lamar Odom
(right knee) and Sasha Vujacic (back spasms) having returned to action
in recent days, the only unavailable player for the Lakers right now is
G Jordan Farmar (left knee). ... The Cavaliers played without C
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (left ankle), G Delonte West (right wrist) and G
Eric Snow (left knee). ... The Lakers have an 8-2 record against the
Cavaliers at Staples Center since the arena opened in 1999, but had
lost the previous two home games to Cleveland. ... The game was the
opener of a four-game trip for the Cavaliers, who are 11-8 on the road
and have lost four of their last five road games. ... The Cavaliers are
11-2 against Western Conference teams and the Lakers are 11-5 against
the East. ... The game was the second of six straight for the Lakers at
Staples Center including a designated road game against the Clippers on