GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 21 25 25 28 99
Play by Play Cleveland Cavaliers 29 22 23 39 104


Cavaliers avenge 55-point defeat against Lakers

By TOM WITHERS

CLEVELAND (AP) The Lakers hit the All-Star break broken.

Looking nothing like two-time defending NBA champions, they dropped their third straight game, a stunning 104-99 loss Wednesday night to the Cleveland Cavaliers - the league's worst team, which avenged a 55-point embarrassment against Los Angeles last month.

Ramon Sessions came off the bench and scored a season-high 32 points for the Cavs, who were beaten 112-57 by the Lakers on Jan. 11. That loss was No. 11 in a league-record streak that eventually reached 26 before Cleveland ended it last week with an overtime win against L.A.'s less-heralded squad, the Clippers.

Pau Gasol had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers.

Playing the finale of a seven-game road trip, the Lakers spent much of the night looking as if they were already on vacation. They threw errant passes, forced outside shots and couldn't catch the Cavs down the stretch despite a frantic comeback.

Kobe Bryant finished with 17 points on 8-of-25 shooting. Derek Fisher had 19 for the Lakers, who committed 19 turnovers and enraged Phil Jackson, their normally tranquil coach, who screamed at them during timeouts after inexcusable defensive lapses.

Losing in Orlando on Sunday was hardly reason for much concern. But a 20-point setback in Charlotte on Monday left both Jackson and Bryant speechless. They expect more from the Lakers, and they're not seeing it.

But as poorly as they played, the Lakers did cut a 10-point lead to two in the final minute. But Anthony Parker and Sessions made two free throws apiece in the last 17.9 seconds.

After the final horn, the Lakers walked slowly toward their locker room and a trip home not knowing what might happen next. With the trading deadline just a week away, the rumors involving Denver star Carmelo Anthony will likely heat up.

This much is clear: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak needs to do something to awaken his team.

The Cavs, on the other hand, reached the season's unofficial midpoint on a high.

This was their best effort of the season. They played with the energy coach Byron Scott wants every night, and they gave their dedicated fans a taste of what could be ahead.

Bryant's 3-pointer helped the Lakers trim a 12-point deficit to three late in the third, but Cavs rookie forward Christian Eyenga followed with a dunk that had Cleveland fans instantly texting "OMG" to friends and one that is among the league's best this season.

Eyenga blew past Bryant on the baseline, reared back with his right hand and smashed the ball through as Gasol made a halfhearted block attempt. Cleveland's bench erupted at a dunk not scene around here since LeBron James delivered them on an almost nightly basis.

Jackson appears to have lost patience with his star-studded team, which seemed road-weary and disinterested.

In the second half, the Zen Master yelled at Gasol during two separate timeouts and the 11-time champion coach was animated while showing the Lakers what they were doing wrong on his erasable clipboard.

Parker's jumper to end the first half capped an 8-0 spurt by the Cavs.

As his players left the floor, Jackson remained seated in his orthopedic high chair, stunned by his team's shocking ineptitude.

Bryant didn't take the loss in Charlotte well, and he was still in a surly mood following the Lakers' morning shootaround. Maybe it didn't help that he had to spend two days in chilly Cleveland, but Bryant was clearly not over L.A.'s poor performance on Wednesday.

"Next game," he snapped.

Bryant, who was bothered by flu-like symptoms earlier in the week, refused to discuss what happened against the Bobcats or if he and his teammates worked on anything in particular.

Things didn't start well for the champions. Bryant picked up his second foul with 5:37 left in the first quarter, and on his way to the bench he said something to referee Kane Fitzgerald and was slapped with a technical. With Bryant out, the Cavs went on an 11-2 run and opened a 10-point lead.

The Lakers were out of sync, and their sloppy play was perhaps best shown during a second-quarter possession when Gasol turned and fired a pass to where he expected a teammate to be. No one was there and the ball skipped into the feet of Los Angeles' coaches.

Notes: Bryant credits Scott with being his mentor when he joined the NBA. The two remain close friends. Bryant sympathizes with what Scott has endured during a trying first season with Cleveland. "This is tough for him," Bryant said. "He's competitive. It's killing him." ... Following shootaround, Jackson and Odom stood behind the glass and watched a few minutes of the Lake Erie Monsters' hockey game. ... Browns players Joshua Cribbs and Joe Haden were in attendance. ... Cavs G Mo Williams, who recently returned after missing 13 games with a hip flexor, started but played just 3 minutes. The team said he wasn't re-injured.

 


Copyright 2011 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



99 Consecutive games in which the Lakers had not lost by 20 points, snapped by Charlotte the game before. They trailed at most by 12 against the Cavaliers in this one.

50 Combined points (30) and rebounds (20) for Pau Gasol in a fantastic individual effort. He was the lone bright spot outside of Derek Fisher, who went for a season-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including three three-pointers.

19 Turnovers for the Lakers, resulting in 23 Cavs points.

14 Straight free throws made for Gasol without single miss, upping his free throw percentage on the season from 81.3 percent to 82.0 percent.

10 Combined points for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, who both may have had their worst individual performances of the season. Bynum made 2-of-12 free field goals, and Odom 1-of-5.




View More Photos


Points Gasol 8-15 FG 30
Rebounds Gasol 10 OFF 10 DEF 20
Assists Odom 6
Steals Brown 3
Blocks Bynum 2

POSTGAME QUOTES


LAKERS HEAD COACH PHIL JACKSON

(On what he told the team after the game): “You know I did not say anything.  I just talked about when they have to report on Monday.”

(On his explanations for the team’s up-and-down road trip):  “We had a lot of turnovers tonight that really hurt us.  It cost us a lot in the first half.  It cost us a lot in the third quarter and you cannot do that to this kind of a game on the road.  We did not play a good road game at all.  (The) 19 turnovers tonight were poor.”







ANDREW BYNUM

(On having a poor shooting night):  “I could not buy a basket.  In the first half I was not being aggressive enough.  In the second half I was missing low stuff (in the paint).”

(On how to fix the team coming back from the all-star break):  “We just have to play hard, harder than what we are playing.” 






RON ARTEST

(On his thought on what happened in the game):  “I got to look at the tape just to analyze what happened tonight and look at the tape and see.”

(On what happened to the team during the road trip):  “I really did not get a chance to look at the tape.  We were on a long road trip so we have a lot of time off (coming up).  I will come back and look at all of the games and see what the difference was.”







HEAD COACH BYRON SCOTT

(On the game tonight): “Obviously it’s a great win. Over this four game home stand, I expected to win three out of the four, but I guess I can’t be too greedy. Two out of four is not bad. On the injury note, Mo Williams reaggravated his right ankle a little bit and it was my decision, after talking with him, not to risk putting him back in the game and having it get any worse. We have got about four days that he can get treatment and hopefully get it better when he comes back.”

(On Antawn Jamison’s injury): “He got kicked in the calf at the end, but I think it will be fine.”

(On the meaning of this victory): “It means a great deal. First thing that it means is that within the last month we have improved as a basketball team. Something that we have been talking about since the Phoenix game was improving on the defensive end. Anytime you can hold the Lakers to 42% shooting, you are doing a really good job. It probably would have been better if we would not have allowed them 19 offensive rebounds. We are very proud of the effort that our guys gave, especially on the defensive end because I thought all night long we stayed focused on what we were trying to do on that end of the floor and we did a really good job of making it tough on them.”

(On the play of Ramon Sessions): “Over the last few games he has played great. Understanding that his role, as far as his minutes, was going to change but not his role (overall). He was back in the position tonight where he was going to have to play a lot of minutes and run the team and he did a heck of a job. 32 points, eight assists and he made every free-throw except for one, but other than that, I thought he did a heck of a job of taking control of the tempo and getting our guys in the system that we want to run.”

(On the impact of the last game against the Lakers): “I think that had a lot to do with it because of the fact that we talked about it. We harped on the fact that we embarrassed ourselves as a basketball team. We didn’t play real well. We allowed that team to basically manhandle us and do whatever they wanted. Again, it was a month ago, but I didn’t mince words when I said we looked scared. Tonight was totally different. I said before the game that we had to go out there and compete and be physical and aggressive. My main message was that they put their pants on just like we do. You don’t back down to anyone on that team. You go out there and play hard and I thought our guys did that.”








RAMON SESSIONS

(On what he was thinking when Mo was out with injury): “I didn’t really know until the end of the first half.  AP mentioned it to me during the course of the game, but I was just like, ‘Hey, just be aggressive.’  It was our last game before the break, so I knew I was going to get some rest (after tonight).  I just tried to give it all I had.”

(On if this is a highlight of the season for him): “Well, it is the last game that we won, so yes of course.  It was a big game for us going into the break.  You couldn’t ask for anything else than going into it with a win against a great team like the Lakers.”

(On putting together all-out effort for 48 minutes): “We come to work every day and we know what we have got in this locker room.  Like you said, if we go out there for 48 minutes and play hard, we can play with the best of them.  That was proven tonight against LA and the first game (of the season) against Boston.  If we come out and play hard, we can beat any team on any night.”







J.J. HICKSON

(On if effort and running the floor was the key tonight): “Yes, of course.  We work hard in practice and we work on pushing the ball.  I think we did a good job of pushing the ball tonight and getting into our sets early.”








LAKERS VS. CAVALIERS GAME PREVIEW

By BRETT HUSTON, STATS Senior Writer

After the Los Angeles Lakers experienced their most lopsided loss of the season Monday - a 20-point drubbing on the road - coach Phil Jackson said he was embarrassed.

That was just the beginning of how Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers described their latest encounter with the Lakers.

Los Angeles' 55-point beatdown of the Cavaliers last month was the low point in their 26-game losing streak and the worst defeat in franchise history, a humiliating performance Cleveland would love to avenge Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Lakers (38-18) couldn't get anything going in an 89-75 loss to Orlando on Sunday, then couldn't stop Charlotte in a 109-89 defeat Monday that left Jackson discouraged after his team began its lengthy road trip 4-0.

"I am very disappointed in our performance tonight," Jackson said. "We are embarrassed about what we did and that's it."

Wednesday's finale of Los Angeles' seven-game trip offers a great chance to bounce back, but the league-worst Cavaliers (9-46) might have a little extra motivation. There were plenty of bad moments during their league-record losing streak that ended Friday with an overtime win against the Clippers, but none were worse than a 112-57 debacle against the Lakers on Jan. 11.

"I thought that was embarrassing," Scott said at the time. "I told them at halftime, 'You look scared. You look flat-out scared. You're playing against the world champions, and instead of just competing and playing hard, you look scared. You look scared to death.' That was my take on it, as simple as that."

Mo Williams tweeted that he felt "like I can't even show my face in Cleve." Antawn Jamison called it "rock bottom," and said it was one of the most embarrassing moments he's been a part of in basketball.

Scott didn't seem to welcome his players' amped-up celebration after the win over the Clippers, telling them they should expect to win. They didn't play like it two days later, falling behind by as many as 25 points in a 115-100 loss to Washington, the Wizards' first road victory in 26 tries.

"I'm still trying to figure (my players) out because to me that was ridiculous," Scott said. "Effort-wise, I thought it just was not there. In the beginning of the game it did not look like it was there. It looked like we were just sleepwalking through it.

"There has to be a sense of urgency every single night."

That's an urgency that seems to have left the Lakers in their two latest games, but their shooting touch has abandoned them as well. Los Angeles shot a combined 5 for 35 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range at Orlando and Charlotte.

The Lakers are in the middle of the pack in 3-point shooting at 35.6 percent, but when they shoot it well, they win. When Los Angeles hits 40 percent or more from beyond the arc, it's 19-1.

The Lakers are facing the right team to try to regain their touch from long distance. The Cavaliers allow opponents to shoot 42.6 percent from 3-point range. Only the 2008-09 Kings have let the opposition shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc since the line was installed in 1979-80.

Los Angeles lost five of its last six visits to Cleveland against the LeBron James-led Cavs. Kobe Bryanonly averages fewer points versus New Jersey (22.4) than he does against Cleveland (22.5).



Copyright 2011 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




Lakers Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is not with team.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is not with team.

Daniel Gibson (left quad strain) is TBD.
Anderson Varejao
(right ankle/foot injury) is out.



01/11 - CLE @ LAL W 112-57
02/16 - LAL @ CLE


This is a dangerous game. How is a game against a team that has two wins since the start of December a dangerous game? The first issue to understand is that they recently got Mo Williams back from injury and he can score and create easy opportunities for his teammates. The second issue that we must overcome is that not only is this the last game of a long seven game, two week trip but it is also the last game before the all-star break. In school, the last final exam before summer vacation was always a tough one because it's hard to stay focused on the task at hand when you know a vacation is just on the other side of it. In the same way we must stay in the moment so we don't slip up. Finally, we should be aware that we will get Cleveland's best effort of the season and if we don't bring the right amount of energy to the game we could be out-worked. The Cavs know that beating the defending champions would bring back a little respect lost in their long losing streak.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers currently lead their season series with Cleveland 1-0, after losing last season's series with the Cavaliers 0-2. This will be the 99th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers holding a 58-40 series advantage. In their last 10 overall meetings, the Lakers are 3-7 against the Cavaliers. The Lakers are 9-3 all-time against the Cavaliers at STAPLES Center. In Cleveland, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 visits to Quicken Loan Arena. In their most recent meeting 1/11/11 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers defeated Cleveland 112-57. The 55-point margin of victory is the third largest in team history, while the 57 points allowed are the fewest by a Lakers opponent in the shot clock era. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 13-8 against Cleveland. In 27 games against the Cavaliers (24 starts), Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.5 points per game including a series record 47 points 1/30/01 at Cleveland. Bryant has faced a variety of health-related issues when facing Cleveland in recent years. On 2/8/09 at Cleveland, Bryant played through the effects of flu-like symptoms. In the prior meeting on 1/19/09, Bryant suffered a dislocated ring finger on his shooting hand but continued to play, marking the 3rd time Bryant has been injured against the Cavs. In 2004, Bryant suffered a sprained right shoulder that limited him to 17 minutes, five of which came after injuring his shoulder in the final seconds of the 1st quarter (1/12/04). Bryant tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, playing five 2nd quarter minutes predominantly left handed. The following season, Bryant suffered a severely sprained right ankle after landing on Ira Newble's foot with 5:39 remaining in the first period (1/13/05) and did not return until the Lakers/Cavs next meeting that season. Cavs head coach Byron Scott played 11 seasons for the Lakers including his final NBA campaign in 1996-97 with then rookie Kobe Bryant. Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons spent the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons as an assistant coach on Scott's staff in New Orleans where Scott's last head coaching job was prior to joining the Cavs. Also, Cavs center Ryan Hollins played his collegiate basketball locally at UCLA.

LAKERS STREAK ENDS AT 99
With their 109-89 loss in Charlotte February 14, the Lakers saw their streak of 99 consecutive regular season games without losing by 20 or more points come to an end. It had been the longest current streak of its kind among NBA teams. The Mavericks now hold the longest current streak, playing 69 straight regular-season games without losing by 20+ points.*

GONE FOR THE GRAMMYS
On Friday, February 4th, the Lakers headed to New Orleans, embarking on their annual Grammys Trip. Since STAPLES Center opened prior to the 1999-2000 season, the venue has been host to the Grammy Awards each winter, with the exception of the 2003 Grammy Awards, which were held at Madison Square Garden.

BACK-TO-BACK
This season, the Lakers are 7-4 in the first game and 9-2 in the second of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 15 sets of back-to-back games as opposed to the 20 they faced a season ago. The only other time the Lakers have played 15 or fewer sets of back-to-backs came in the team's first ever NBA season (1948-49) when they also played 15 sets of back-to-backs. Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2010-11 while Oklahoma City (17), Phoenix (16) and the Lakers (15) will play the fewest sets this season.

THE COMEBACK KIDS
In their 92-86 victory at Boston February 10, the Lakers overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat the Celtics at TD Garden. The Lakers only other road come from behind victory when trailing by at least 15 points over the past six seasons came with a 16-point comeback win at Chicago on March 21, 2009. Furthermore, the game against the Celtics marked just the second regular season game between the two teams in the last 20 seasons in which each team entered the game at least 20 games above .500. The other matchup occurred on February 5, 2009 at TD Garden, when the Celtics held a 41-9 record and the Lakers were 39-9. The Lakers went on to win that contest with a 110-109 overtime victory.*

30-30 COMBO
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, both Pau Gasol (34) and Kobe Bryant (32) scored 30-plus points in the same contest for the first time since March 1, 2009 at Phoenix, and for the sixth time since becoming teammates in February of 2008. The Lakers are now 5-1 when Bryant and Gasol both score 30-plus points in the same contest. Back on February 4th, 2009, Bryant and Gasol became the first Lakers teammates to post back-to-back 30-point games together since Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did so on April 10th and 13th, 2003. Bryant and O'Neal both scored 30-plus points in the same contest 33 times as teammates, with the Lakers posting a 27-6 record in those games.

LAKERS COMMIT JUST FOUR TURNOVERS WHILE LIMITING OPPONENT TO A FRANCHISE-LOW FOUR FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, the Lakers committed just four turnovers, with New Orleans failing to record a single steal. The last time the Lakers had only four turnovers in a game came in a 110-90 victory over Minnesota on March 6, 2009. The Lakers committed a franchise-low three turnovers in a game on December 30, 2001 in a 114-90 victory vs. Houston. Furthermore, the Hornet's four free throw attempts marks a Lakers opponent franchise-low for free throw attempts in a game in the shot clock era. The previous franchise-low of five opponent free-throw attempts occurred twice, 4/7/06 at Phoenix and 1/6/02 at Toronto.

BRYANT PASSES HAKEEM OLAJUWON FOR 8th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a fast break dunk at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Kobe Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 8th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this month, Bryant moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans and Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit on the all-time list. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (25.3 ppg), Bryant (27,205) would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409). Among the top eight scorers in NBA history, more than half (5) have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Wilt Chamberlain (4th), Shaquille O'Neal (5th) and Bryant (8th)).

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).






Pick n Roll

Play the Lakers Pick n Roll game for your chance to win tickets to a Lakers game. Just make your picks of which Lakers will lead the team and watch the game to see how you do. Be sure to play the Lakers Pick n Roll game every game home and away as a part of our season long contest.

Login to Lakers Courtside Connection to make your picks