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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Cleveland Cavaliers 20 25 24 24 93
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 37 20 29 27 113
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Lakers beat Cavs 113-93, snap 6-game skid

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Jan 14 2013 12:01AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a three-game injury absence, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their six-game losing streak with a 113-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, who finally earned their first victory of 2013 while ending their longest skid since February 2007. Howard went 9 for 11 despite his injured shoulder while leading Los Angeles to a comfortable victory over the lowly Cavaliers, who beat the Lakers last month.

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters scored 15 points apiece for Cleveland, which has lost seven of nine. Alonzo Gee added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who fell behind by 19 points in the first quarter of their second stop on a five-game West Coast road trip.

Cleveland (9-30) is barely ahead of Washington (6-28) for the NBA's worst record.

Steve Nash had 10 points and nine assists for the Lakers, whose skid has been severe enough to cause fans to worry about this star-packed roster's playoff chances even in mid-January. After Oklahoma City ran the Lakers out of Staples Center on Friday night in a 116-101 victory, a downbeat coach Mike D'Antoni told his players that "our season starts Sunday."

Opening day went well for the Lakers, but much bigger challenges loom - including the Miami Heat's visit on Thursday.

Pau Gasol missed his fourth straight game for Los Angeles with a concussion, while top backup Jordan Hill is likely out for the season with an injured hip. Earl Clark had another solid game in the starting lineup with 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, while Antawn Jamison added 16 points and hit four of the Lakers' 13 3-pointers.

Howard injured the labrum in his shoulder earlier this month during a game against the Clippers, and he aggravated the injury last Sunday while grabbing a career high-tying 26 rebounds against Denver. He sat out for the past week to rest the injury, but didn't appear limited while patrolling the paint against the Cavs despite committing seven turnovers.

Although struggling Cleveland seemed to be an ideal slump-buster, the Cavs beat the Lakers 100-94 last month in Cleveland, Los Angeles' third straight road loss in the series.

Before the game, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott declined to follow the lead of fellow `80s Lakers greats Magic Johnson and James Worthy in hammering the current Lakers for their defense and Mike D'Antoni's coaching. Scott understandably has bigger concerns than his ex-teammates-turned-pundits who have mercilessly ripped D'Antoni, Howard and even Bryant in recent weeks.

Los Angeles looked sharp early, taking 37-18 lead in the final minute of the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Bryant. But the Lakers committed turnovers on six straight possessions late in the second half, allowing Cleveland to trim their lead to nine points.

The Lakers still scored 57 points in the first half with 17 assists on their 20 field goals.

NOTES: Nash hit three free throws, improving to 18 for 18 this season and increasing his minuscule lead on Mark Price for the best free throw percentage in NBA history. ... Cleveland continues its road trip in Sacramento on Monday night against the Kings, who have lost four straight. ... The Lakers won despite 22 turnovers, including 18 by their starting lineup.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 23
Rebounds Howard, 14
Assists Nash, 9
Steals World Peace, 4
Blocks Clark, 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On tonight’s performance:
“A lot better tonight in a lot of areas. I thought Kobe set the tone hawking the ball with [Kyrie] Irving. Defense was much better with Dwight back in here. Earl Clark continues to play. He’s got a lot of body and that helps us where we can put him on different guys with length. That really helps. We’ll see it as a baby step but it’s a step.”

On noticing Earl Clark:
“He began to stand out just a couple weeks ago. We were trying so many different guys from [Devin] Ebanks, to Antawn [Jamison], to try and make Pau able to play in the system. So many things went on that Earl got lost in the shop. The whole time he kept working. Our assistant coach kept saying, ‘his feet are good, his first steps are good,’ so he kept a smile on his face and never gave up. I couldn’t be happier that it worked out for him because he worked for it. He deserved it.”

On comfortability with reserves:
“I’m not comfortable anywhere with being 16-21. I think they’re getting there. They are getting a lot better. Antawn gave us some good minutes tonight and he’s going to be huge for us. Again, I think that Earl kind of solidified a little bit of everything. You can put length out there with Antawn and that helps. Before we had Jodie and Antawn, so this is better. I’m going to look at a few more games but I just think that the combinations and a lot of that goes back to Earl’s athleticism and quickness and we’re able to spread the floor at the same time.”

On having a mindset and urgency:
“I thought we did with San Antonio, Houston and even Oklahoma City. I thought we had that but we didn’t have enough to sustain it. With Dwight back in there I thought we had the same urgency. This is the fourth game in a row that we did it. We still have things to go on and get right.”




Steve Nash:

On tonight’s win:
“It was better for sure tonight. I thought we moved the ball, even though I think we weren’t as efficient as we could be, I thought our efficiency was good, our ball movement was good. We had a good energy and pace to us offensively so we were able to score the ball, but I thought more importantly we were organized defensively.”

On Dwight Howard’s return:
“He was great. I thought he was a great presence for us, good energy. He’s the anchor of the team. When he plays with energy and plays hard defensively we’re a different team and the only way for us to realize our aspirations is if he is that presence defensively.”

On Earl Clark:
“I think Earl’s playing extremely hard and well and his energy and athleticism are big for us so it’s been fantastic to see him get an opportunity and thrive.”

On building on this win:
“We got to continue to fight. Improvement will come if we fight and we work and are committed.”




Dwight Howard:

On the team’s offense tonight:
“Well everybody touched the ball tonight and I think that’s the biggest reason we got the blowout tonight. We got to continue to play like this, continue to get better you know try to turn this around.”

On the play of Earl Clark:
“I love Earl. He comes in every day. He works hard. He got his opportunity and he’s playing great. I’m real happy for him.”

On the team’s defensive performance:
“Our defense was great tonight. We just got to keep believing. We got to put some wins together, the biggest thing is that we got to believe, believe in each other.”




Earl Clark:

On his role:
“It’s been a lot of fun man. I’ve just been coming out here preparing myself to play well and getting with the coaches and I’ve just been trying to bring energy and I’ve been getting a lot of open shots playing with Dwight, Kobe and Steve Nash and I’m just trying to capitalize on that.”

On tonight’s win:
“It feels good just to get another win, we just got to keep chipping away on the defense end, rebound, get Pau [Gasol] back and just continue to win and play hard.”




Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“Defensively we were very active and tried to take them out of their sets. Our defensively intelligence tonight was pretty good.”

“We have to get to the front lines here and start picking up full court, start harassing guys… That was a challenge I wanted to pick up for sure. “

“It is not really about the shots that everybody takes, you just have to play for each other. And that is really the big key. That’s one of the problems playing in Los Angeles is that there is so much attention that when people concentrate on individuals, a lot of times that can trickle down to everyone else on the team. Everyone starts thinking about themselves and it can’t be that way. You can’t think about yourself, you have to think about what we are doing as a group.

On the return of Dwight Howard:
“It was great. He looked good. I was pleased with the way that he was running. I was pleased with his activity and I thought he performed well.”




Antawn Jamison:

On the game:
“We have to find a way to be consistent on both ends of the floor. And most importantly, start the night. We have to play with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor defensively and offensively. More of 48 points instead of 24 or 36 and it started with the starters, and most importantly, the bench came in and instead of lack of play, we improved play. We played with a lot more energy. Those are the things we have to do. We have to realize that it is the guys in this locker room that can turn things around.”

On the return of Dwight Howard:
“Not too many guys can affect the game the way he can. As long as he is back there, he can cause guys to take alternate shots, block shots, and protect the paint. Offensively, he takes up so much space that it opens up a lot of shots for his teammates and he is a big piece of this success. For us, most importantly, to keep him healthy, but when he is healthy, to have an outcome of the game like we did tonight.”




Byron Scott:

On the Lakers performance tonight:
“You have to give them a lot of credit. They came out focused and aggressive from the start. With the young group that we have, you can’t allow a team to get out to a 17 or 18 point lead in the first quarter and expect to try to come back all night long. They have too many veterans and too many good players to do that. We didn’t come out with the right frame of mind to start. I thought we started to fight and get ourselves back into the game, but that’s too deep of a hole to dig against a veteran team like that.”

On CJ Miles’ and Kyrie Irving’s poor performances tonight compared to the last matchup against the Lakers:
“He [CJ Miles] just missed shots tonight, and he was very disappointed in the way he played. I also thought that Kobe [Bryant] starting on Kyrie [Irving] and some of the other matchups they had, they came out much more aggressive. They didn’t just sit back. They were the initiator, and I thought that was the biggest difference.”

On the Lakers’ success from the three-point line:
“The one thing we wanted to try to do was to take away a lot of the paint scores. I thought in the first quarter they got pretty much whatever they wanted in the paint. In the second quarter we did a much better job, but throughout the game they hit some big threes. In our defense we don’t leave corners; we left corners tonight and they made us pay.”

On the Cavaliers’ performance tonight:
“We didn’t play well, that’s my feeling. I’m disappointed. I know we’re a better basketball team then what we showed tonight. So, yes I am disappointed.”




Kyrie Irving:

On tonight’s performance:
“They were gearing up for this game and, you know, we beat them last time. They just did a great job of containing me, and containing everybody on the team, and making everybody else make plays.”

On feeling Dwight Howard’s presence:
“Absolutely, he got going early. Instead of making him make 2 free throws, he was getting 3 point plays.”

On the energy of the Lakers after a loss last meeting:
“Absolutely, we knew it. We just didn’t have that fight the first quarter and it kind of killed us throughout the rest of the game.”

On who hurt them tonight:
“It was a team effort. They did a great job of moving the ball. Kobe was just taking what the defense gave him and just hitting open shots. He made a few tough ones but everybody else was making plays.”




C.J. Miles:

On tonight’s performance:
“…couldn’t knock them down tonight, it was one of those nights. We gave up some easy baskets tonight, they got a lot of dunks, a lot of stuff at the rim, got some and 1’s, Dwight (Howard) had a lot of and 1’s, a lot of put backs, and just easy baskets. Then they shot the ball, they made shots too. They made some 3’s, especially in the second half. It was just, I think, we came out and dictated the game a little bit more, we don’t let them dictate us. They took us out of what we do a little bit, but the biggest thing I think was that we didn’t play basketball like we play basketball. I’m not taking away anything from what they did, they played great.

On their losses thus far into the season:
“That’s the reason why it’s really a big deal to us, especially in this locker room because we’re striving to get better. There’s going to be some bumps and we know that….the biggest thing is for us to be able to come and compete every night, and I don’t think that’s an excuse for effort. I feel like getting beat like that is embarrassing, especially the way we play basketball, the way we’ve been playing basketball.”

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CAVALIERS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JEFF MEZYDLO

Posted Jan 12 2013 1:25PM

With the Los Angeles Lakers mired in their longest losing streak in almost six years, coach Mike D'Antoni wants his team to solely focus on the moment.

Looking to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat, the banged-up Lakers hope a matchup with one of the league's worst teams can help turn things around as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

Even without stars Dwight Howard (shoulder) and Pau Gasol (concussion), not to mention key reserve Jordan Hill (hip) possibly being done for the season, D'Antoni believes Los Angeles can quickly end its worst stretch since a seven-game slide March 2-15, 2007.

"I told the team, the biggest thing is our season starts Sunday," he said. "We've got to make a run. We've got one shot at it, and everybody needs to get ready mentally and physically.

"... We won't be mathematically out of it Tuesday if we don't do it Sunday, but it has got to turn around somewhere. And we have to make our stand and do it. I am an optimist and I think it can happen."

Though Howard and Gasol are both likely to miss a fourth straight game, the Lakers (15-21) might have a good chance to get back on track at home against Cleveland (9-29), owner of the NBA's second-worst record. Los Angeles is looking to avoid dropping four straight home games for the first time since a five-game skid Jan. 26-Feb. 21, 2007. "

They're not done," Russell Westbrook said after helping Oklahoma City to a 116-101 win at Los Angeles on Friday. "They have a lot more games left, and I'm pretty sure they're going to find a way to get it together."

If that's to happen, Los Angeles must improve defensively after yielding an average of 111.8 points on 49.1 percent shooting during the six-game slide. Kevin Durant scored 42 as the Thunder built a 27-point lead and shot 50.6 percent Friday.

"We're just very frustrated and upset about what we're going through right now, and how we're playing," star Kobe Bryant said. "We're going to have to make some big adjustments if we're going to be successful."

Though Bryant is averaging a league-leading 30.0 points and shooting a career-high 47.2 percent, he's averaged 25.0 points and shot 37.7 percent in three games since Howard and Gasol got hurt. Bryant is 13 of 50 (26.0 percent) from 3-point range over the last seven.

He's scored 42 in each of the last two games against the Cavaliers, most recently a 100-94 loss at Cleveland on Dec. 11.

These teams have split four meetings since LeBron James bolted Cleveland after the 2009-10 season. Both Lakers' victories were at Staples Center as they held the Cavs to a combined 34.0 percent from the field.

Though three of Cleveland's five total wins away from home have come over its last six road contests, it has lost the last two.

The Cavs opened a five-game western trip with a 98-91 loss at Denver on Friday. Kyrie Irving shook off an illness to post 28 points, seven assists and five steals, but Cleveland blew an 11-point halftime lead while being outscored 53-35 in the second half.

"We're still young and dumb and don't understand what we have to do in the third quarter," coach Byron Scott said. "It happens over and over. I'm tired of us giving games away."

Irving is averaging 27.8 points over his last five games and has totaled 49 in two matchups with Los Angeles.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #33 Gee  
  #6 ClarkPF #13 Thompson  
  #50 Sacre C #40 Zeller  
  #24 Bryant SG #0 Miles  
  #10 Nash PG #2 Irving  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(concussion) is out.
Jordan Hill
(right hip /herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is out.
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Magic Anderson Varejao
(vastus medialis split/surgery) is out.
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12/11 - LAL 94 @ CLE 100
01/13 - CLE @ LAL
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