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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Game 11: Cavs at Lakers


at Staples Center
RADIO/TV: WTAM/Fox Sports Ohio

The Lakers have won five in a row, largely because of the play of All-Star Kobe Bryant. He's averaging 43.3 points in his last three games.

Bryant, playing like the league's Most Valuable Player, had 42 against the Cavs on Friday. He made 15 of 21 from the field, 4 of 7 from the 3-point line and 8 of 10 from the foul line. He added five rebounds, three assists, three steals and six turnovers.

Cavs swingmen Anthony Parker and Alonzo Gee took turns getting scorched, er, defending Bryant, who is on one of his patented rolls.

The Cavs were a whisker away from pulling the biggest upset of the NBA season. Once they cut it to four points in the fourth quarter, they fell apart. They turned the ball over, took terrible shots and made some bonehead plays. Their upset bid fell short.

Two numbers stood out in the final box score. They shot 37.6 percent from the field (32 of 85). They missed 53 shots on the night. Also, they had 20 turnovers. If they had improved in both areas, they could have emerged with a win and ruined Jack Nicholson's night.

Guard Kyrie Irving paced the Cavs with 21 points, four assists and two steals. He turned the ball over four times.

He also took over the team lead in scoring at 17 per game. Forward Antawn Jamison is now second on the team in scoring at 16.5. He could not buy a shot on the night and made just 4 of 16. For whatever reason, when he struggles, the Cavs lose.

Bryant is leading the league in scoring (31.2), 20th in assists (5.7) and 15th in minutes (36.8). He's fun to watch. His will to win is crazy.

The Cavs were hammered by the Lakers the last time they visited Staples Center, 112-57. The 55-point loss on Jan. 11, 2011, was the worst in franchise history. That was anything but the case on Friday. The Cavs responded much better in the back-to-back games than they did last week when they laid an egg in Toronto - their first back-to-back of the season.

The Cavs are 2-4 on the 7-game road trip. They will return home and are scheduled to practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Sunday afternoon before flying to North Carolina.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Charlotte at 2 p.m. Monday.

SF Omri Casspi (6-9, 225) vs. Matt Barnes (6-7, 225)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Pau Gasol (7-0, 250)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Andrew Bynum (7-0, 285)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Kobe Bryant (6-6, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Derek Fisher (6-1, 210)
Cavs – G/F Christian Eyenga, G Mychel Thompson
Lakers - F Derrick Caracter, G Steve Blake

Scott Foster,  Dick Bavetta,  Karl Lane


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