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Box Score Cleveland Cavaliers 28 13 29 22 92
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 32 27 23 15 97


Kobe goes for 40-plus again as Lakers beat Cavs

By GREG BEACHAM

Posted Jan 13 2012 10:18PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 42 points in his third straight 40-point performance, and the Los Angeles Lakers blew a big early lead before hanging on for their fifth straight victory, 97-92 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their eighth consecutive game at Staples Center since Christmas. Until Bryant took charge, Los Angeles allowed a 19-point lead to dwindle to three in the final minutes of coach Mike Brown's first meeting with the Cavaliers since they fired him in 2010.

Bryant managed just seven points in the fourth quarter but hit two big jumpers down the stretch, giving him three straight 40-point games for the first time since March 2007, when he had five straight. Kobe is third in NBA history with 110 40-point games, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.

Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and Ramon Sessions added 12 for the Cavaliers, who have played eight of their first 11 games on the road. Cleveland foundered in the first half before rallying impressively in the second half, avoiding anything close to the embarrassment of last season's 112-57 debacle at Staples Center.

Bryant added another remarkable performance to his early season tear, with the 13-time All-Star showing the flair and determination of his best seasons. Playing through a torn wrist ligament that has visibly swollen his right hand, Kobe has scored at least 30 points in seven of his last eight games.

Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Matt Barnes added 15 points for the Lakers, who finished the first half with an 18-3 run for an 18-point halftime lead. Los Angeles led by 12 points heading to the fourth quarter, but missed its first eight shots and failed to score for more than six minutes, allowing the Cavaliers to pull within three points.

The Lakers missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the fourth before Bryant's 18-footer with 4:02 to play. Just seven players scored for the Lakers, with just four managing more than three points.

Los Angeles played without backup point guard Steve Blake, who has broken cartilage in his ribs. During the fourth quarter, the Lakers announced Blake will be sidelined three to four weeks.

Derek Fisher had 10 assists for the Lakers, getting double-digit assists for just the 15th time in the point guard's 16-year career. Rookie Darius Morris also played 17 minutes in his second career game.

Before the game, Brown insisted he harbors no bitterness toward the Cavaliers or owner Dan Gilbert, who fired him after an otherwise incredibly successful five-year tenure ended without a championship. Brown went 272-138 at the helm of LeBron James' Cavs, who won at least one playoff round every year and reached the NBA finals in 2007.

"If I was back in Cleveland, it would be a little different," Brown said of his reunion game. "But a lot of faces on that team have changed."

Brown remains grateful to Gilbert for his first chance to be a head coach, and he took zero satisfaction in the Cavs' total collapse after he left. Cleveland won 19 games last season and is trying to rebuild behind No. 1 pick Irving.

NOTES: Metta World Peace didn't play for the Lakers. The team said the veteran forward is struggling with back spasms and an Achilles' tendon problem, although he wasn't listed on the pregame injury report. ... Lakers F Josh McRoberts returned from a six-game absence with a sprained big toe, but played just 4 first-half minutes. F Troy Murphy also returned from an illness, and Jason Kapono returned from a two-game absence while his wife gave birth to twins. ... Fans included Adam Sandler, Tobey Maguire, Joe Walsh, A.C. Green and three-time U.S. Olympic boxer Rau'Shee Warren.

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





View More Photos


Points Bryant 42, 15-31 FG
Rebounds Bynum 11, 2 OFF 9 DEF
Assists Fisher 10
Steals Fisher/Bryant 3
Blocks Bynum 3


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Opening statement:

“I thought the first half, on both ends of the floor, we did a solid job. The ball moved, bodies moved. We had some great looks from the floor in the first half, 18 assists on 24 made baskets, and defensively we were solid too.”

On how Kobe Bryant played:

“I could go on and on about how well Kobe played for us in terms of scoring the basketball. He’s shooting over 50% from the floor and he hit some tough shots but we have to keep trying to make sure that we keep executing offensively so we don’t have to rely on him so much. But it is always a good thing to have a guy like Kobe Bryant in your back pocket.”

on Derek Fisher:

“The 10 assists is a very good basketball game but more importantly than that is the zero turnovers. For a guy playing 30 minutes and having the ball in his hands as much as he had it in his hands, to have those 10 assists with zero turnovers, it was good to see.”




Derek Fisher:

On returning to Utah:

“Emotionally, at least, it’s gotten easier. In terms of the game, it’s always tough to get a win in this building, but, emotionally, each year that has gone by it’s gotten a little bit easier and more comforting to come back... It’s something that will always be with me and I’ll never forget, but life has moved on.”

On defensive stops at the end of the game:

“Andrew’s plays... the tip-in offensively to get a late bucket for us and then, defensively, to impact Al’s first shot and then block the second attempt... those are big plays. Down the stretch, we rely so heavily on Kobe’s offense that a lot of guys weren’t touching the basketball offensively and so it’s just great to have a guy make a major contribution like that to help us secure this game on the defensive end.”




Kobe Bryant:

On tomorrow’s matchup with the Clippers:

“It’s a good test. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good challenge. We’re going to be pumped up and excited. There’s going to be a lot of energy.”

On playing at a high level despite wrist injury:

“It’s motivation. Nobody wants to hear about a bad wrist as a reason for a bad game. No one wants to hear excuses so I have to get out there and do what I do.”

On other players stepping up in Steve Blake’s absence:

“The young fella’s are going to have to step up, do their job, and facilitate. My wrist isn’t ready to handle that much so the young fellas are going to have to step up and play big minutes.”

On Derek Fisher:

“Derek has been racking up the assists and played extremely well. He played with a lot of energy, solid defense, and made some big plays.”




Matt Barnes:

On how the Lakers got back control of the game in the end:

“You know, just making smart plays. A team like this, their confidence grows as you let them stay in the game and tonight was a perfect example of that. Up twenty [points], you have to find a way to close them out but we didn’t and they battled back but fortunately we got the win.”

On Kobe’s playing with an injured wrist:

“He’s a special player. He’s showing that night in night out. I think the leagues in trouble once his hand heals.”

On other players stepping up in Steve Blake’s absence:

“The young fella’s are going to have to step up, do their job, and facilitate. My wrist isn’t ready to handle that much so the young fellas are going to have to step up and play big minutes.”

On whether losing the early lead tonight will hurt them in tomorrow’s game against the Clippers:

“I think no matter how many minutes everyone played tonight the whole team will be ready for tomorrow’s game just like they [Clippers] will be. There’s no excuse. Everyone has the same type of schedule.”




Darius Morris:

On making his first three-pointer at Staples Center:

“It felt great just to be out there with my teammates and getting that “W” tonight. It was everything I thought it would be. I was just focusing on whatever coach Brown was telling me to do out there.”

On tomorrow’s matchup against Chris Paul and the Clippers:

“It’s going to be very intense especially individually going against an established guard that can do it off of the dribble and also with his passing skills. We got a little glimpse of them in the preseason, but it’s definitely going to be a different beast tomorrow.”




Byron Scott:

On cutting the Lakers’ lead from nineteen to four:

“I just think we got aggressive. I thought our guys got that much more aggressive on the defensive end and we had some opportunities to get up and down the floor a lot better in that spurt. I thought our second unit did a good job when they came in of being aggressive on the defensive end, and caused us some turnovers.”

On tonight’s game:

“I never look at games like this as a moral victory, that’s the bottom line. The bottom line is we want to win the basketball game. I thought we’ve played better, I thought we could’ve played a lot better, especially in the first half. One of our nemeses right now, this year, is turnovers. You can’t have twenty turnovers against good teams like this. We had opportunities, we had a lot of wide open shots tonight that we didn’t knock down. We didn’t finish in the paint real well. Those are two areas that kind of kept us.”




Kyrie Irving:

on his personal performance tonight:

“I would have traded it in for a win tonight. Every single game I go into, I’m just taking what the defense gives me. Coming into the third quarter, I thought I needed to be a little bit more aggressive and get my teammates involved. We were making a few shots and I wish a couple chippies would have gone down. Our momentum was picking up and once our second group came in, it picked up even more. Going into the fourth quarter, I thought we had a definite chance to turn it over, but give credit to the Lakers --- they’re a great team and they did a great job of closing it out.”

on going against Kobe Bryant:

“He’s a superstar. Being out there, sometimes you catch yourself watching him cause he does some incredible things out there. I thought [Anthony Parker] did a great job on him especially in the second half. We just didn’t close out the game and that’s the area where we need to get better at.”




Antawn Jamison:

On team’s play tonight:

“People were asking about coming back here after what happened last year. It’s a different team and we pretty much put that behind us, but that first half kind of brought back a little bit of memories a little bit. The one thing about this team is the character we have is that we never give up. As a team, I like the character that we have. Guys were positive in the locker room at halftime, we came out and had a better showing and put ourselves in a position to win.”

On what he learned about team on the road trip:

“I think this is going to be a deciding factor for how this season goes --- we have to find a way to win on the road. I think at home, we play with a different mentality and energy. We have to find a way to tune out the crowd and to realize the importance of every possession on the road, and I think we’ll be able to take that step towards getting to that goal. Before this trip, I knew we had great team chemistry and guys pulling from one another, but the biggest thing we can learn from this trip is understanding what it takes to be successful on the road.”






Cavaliers-Lakers Preview

By JEFF MEZYDLO

Posted Jan 12 2012 11:11PM

Mike Brown was unable to win an NBA title with LeBron James during his five seasons as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If Kobe Bryant can somehow manage to keep playing as well as he has lately, Brown might have a good chance to win a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After back-to-back 40-point performances, Bryant looks to stay hot as the Lakers try for a fifth consecutive victory Friday night when Brown faces the Cavaliers for the first time since they fired him two years ago.

Brown went 272-138 in Cleveland, guiding the club to the NBA finals in 2007 and the Eastern Conference finals in 2009. However, after the Cavaliers were upset by Boston in the 2010 semifinals, he was let go. Brown spent last season as a studio analyst for ESPN, then was named coach of the Lakers in May after Phil Jackson retired.

Brown's tenure in Los Angeles got off to a rough start when the Lakers (8-4) dropped their first two games, but they have since won eight of 10.

Despite a sore wrist, Bryant has been the major reason for his team's turnaround, averaging a league-high 30.3 points. He's averaged 36.7 on 50.3 percent shooting in the last six.

One night after posting a season-high 48 in a 99-83 home win over Phoenix on Tuesday, Bryant scored 40 in the Lakers' 90-87 overtime victory at Utah.

"You know Kobe's going to get a volume of shots; he's going to get the ball all night long and you have to trust that you have good help behind you and make it tough for him," Utah guard Raja Ball said. "He's going to score his points. Scorers in this league, I've always subscribed to this theory, they're going to get their points... you just have to make him take a field goal percentage to your liking."

Bryant last scored 40 or more in three straight games during a five-game run March 16-25, 2007. He averaged an astonishing 53.6 points during that span.v

He totaled 30 points on 38.2 percent shooting while the Lakers split their two meetings against the post-James Cavaliers in 2010-11.

He had 13 and was barely needed in Los Angeles' 112-57 rout of Cleveland at the Staples Center on Jan. 11, 2011. The Cavaliers shot 29.9 percent and did not score more than 16 points in any quarter of that contest.

Times appear to be better for Cleveland (5-5), which avoided a third straight defeat with a 101-90 win at Phoenix on Thursday to improve to 2-3 on a seven-game trip.

"It was a good win for us," coach Byron Scott told the Cavaliers' official website. "I thought we did some really good things."

The Cavaliers are a much different team than the one Brown coached in his final season. There's no James or Shaquille O'Neal, but 2011 No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving and veteran Antawn Jamison have provided a more competitive product than the club that finished 19-63 last season.

Irving had 26 points with six assists and scored 12 straight points during one stretch of the first half Thursday. Jamison added 23 after scoring 22 during a 113-105 loss at Utah on Tuesday.

Irving has averaged 22.3 points in his last three games.

At 3-4 away from home, Cleveland is four shy of matching its entire road win total from 2010-11.


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    
  #9 Barnes SF #36 Casspi  
  #16 Gasol PF #4 Jamison  
  #17 Bynum C #17 Varejao  
  #24 Bryant SG #18 Parker  
  #2 Fisher PG #2 Irving  



Lakers Kobe Bryant
(torn lunotriquetral ligament, right wrist) is probable.
Derrick Caracter
(torn lateral meniscus, left knee) is out.
Pau Gasol
(sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Josh McRoberts
(sprained left big toe and left thumb) is doubtful.
Troy Murphy
(gastroenteritis) is not with team.
Steve Blake
(bruised rib) is day-to-day

N/A



Game 1: 01/13


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers split last season’s series with Cleveland 1-1 after losing the 2009-10 series with the Cavaliers 0-2. This will be the 100th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers holding a 58-41 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 while in Cleveland, they have gone 3-7 in their last 10 visits to Quicken Loan Arena. In their last home game against the Cavaliers 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. In 28 games against the Cavaliers (25 starts), Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.3 points per game, his lowest career scoring average against any NBA opponent despite scoring 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. Lakers head coach Mike Brown spent five seasons as the Cavs head coach, leading Cleveland to the 2007 NBA Finals and back-to-back 60+ win seasons. Cavs head coach Byron Scott played 11 seasons for the Lakers including his final NBA campaign in 1996-97 with then rookie Kobe Bryant. Also, Cavs rookie Mychel Thompson, who played collegiately at Pepperdine, is the son of Lakers radio color commentator Mychal Thompson.


KOBE BRYANT LEADS WESTERN CONFERENCE AFTER FIRST ROUND OF ALL-STAR BALLOTING

On January 12th, the NBA announced its FIRST returns of 2012 NBA All-Star balloting with Kobe Bryant (690,613) LEADING all Western Conference players in All-Star voting while ranking second league-wide behind Dwight Howard (754,737). Pau Gasol (185,428), who made his fourth All-Star team last season as a reserve, ranks 4th among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (633,538), Blake Griffin (394,264) and Dirk Nowitzki (231,832). Andrew Bynum (496,597) leads all West centers, with DeAndre Jordan (134,961) and Marc Gasol (102,116) ranked second and third respectively. Chris Paul (540,173) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, LeBron James (640,789) and Carmelo Anthony (496,351) lead all forwards in voting, Derrick Rose (640,476) and Dwyane Wade (637,912) are the top two votegetters at guard and Howard leads all centers in balloting.

In each of the last four seasons, Bryant has led the Western Conference in all-star balloting. Last season, Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, received 2,380,016 votes to lead all players in balloting, the second time in his career he has done so (2003). In 2009-10, Bryant received 2,456,224 votes, finishing second overall to Cleveland’s LeBron James (2,549,693). In 2008-09, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A four-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix, 2011 Los Angeles), Bryant is a 13-time All-Star and had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing the 2009-10 contest due to a sprained left ankle. Gasol has made four All-Star appearances (2006, 2009-11) and in 2009, became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team. Bynum has yet to make an All-Star Team, finishing 2nd among West centers (974,546) a year ago behind Yao Ming (1,146,426).


FIRST TO FORTY
On Tuesday, January 10th, Kobe Bryant scored an NBA season-high 48 points the help the Lakers to a 99-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns at STAPLES Center. Entering that night’s schedule, 131 NBA games had been played on the season, and not one player had reached the 40-point mark in a game, marking the farthest into a season in the shot-clock era, in terms of games played, before the first player scored 40 points in a game. Prior to this season, the latest “first player to 40” came in the 2004-05 season, when Dirk Nowitzki scored 41 points on 11/11/04. Prior to that day, there had been 68 NBA games played that season.*

The NBA season-high 48 points scored by Bryant, who was 33 years, 140 days old on January 10th, is the most by a player that old in a regulation-length game since Michael Jordan posted 51 points at the age of 38 as a member of the Washington Wizards 12/29/01 vs. the Charlotte Hornets. Bryant, who is currently in his 16th NBA season, became the first NBA player to score 48 or more points in his 15th season or later; Michael Jordan held the previous record, scoring 48 or more points in his 14th NBA season. Bryant’s 48 points (18-31 FG, 12-13 FT), marks his highest scoring output since registering 49 points 3/1/09 at Phoenix, and is the most he has scored in any game in which he did not make a three-point field goal.*


40-POINT GAMES
With 48 points January 10th vs. Phoenix, Kobe Bryant scored 40+ points for the 108th time (regular season) in his NBA career and the first time this season. Last season, Bryant eclipsed the 40-point mark three times (139-137 3OT win 3/22 vs. Phoenix (42 points), 92-95 loss 11/28 vs. Indiana (41 points), 96-109 loss 1/30 vs. Boston (41 points). During the 2009-10 season, Bryant eclipsed the 40-point mark eight times, with the Lakers going 7-1 in those games. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers are now 74-34 all-time in games that Bryant scores 40+ points. Bryant holds the Lakers franchise record for 40-point games in a single season, recording 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. Bryant also holds the franchise record for most consecutive 40-point games (9), established during the 2002-03 season. Only Wilt Chamberlain (14 twice, 10 once) has had longer consecutive 40-point game streaks in league history than Bryant.


WINNING IN SPITE OF TURNOVERS
In their 90-82 victory over Memphis on January 8, the Lakers turned the ball over 27 times; their highest total since turning it over 27 times in a 96-89 loss to Philadelphia on March 27, 2005 at STAPLES Center. The last time the Lakers had at least 27 turnovers and won came in a 106-102 overtime victory on April 20, 1999 at Golden State (27 turnovers). For the Lakers last regulation victory with at least 27 turnovers, one has to go all the way back to November 3, 1995 when they defeated the Denver Nuggets 98-96 at the Great Western Forum despite turning the ball over 27 times. On the season, the Lakers are now 5-2 when turning it over more than their opponents.


SHOOTING BLANKS
In their January 5 loss at Portland, the Lakers struggled to 0-for-11 shooting from behind the three-point arc despite opening the contest connecting on 11 of their first 12 field goals. The zero in the three-point field goals made column marks the first time the Lakers have not made at least one three-point shot since November 16, 2003 vs. Miami when the team combined to go 0-for-9. With 11 attempts and zero made, the Lakers also equaled the franchise record for most three-point field goal attempts without a make, established, ironically, 2/26/83 at Portland (0-11 3FG) and equaled again on 3/9/01 vs. San Antonio (0-11 3FG).


BRYANT NEARING SHAQUILLE O’NEAL FOR 5th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Moses Malone (27,409) 3/8/11 at Atlanta, Elvin Hayes (27,313) 2/27/11 at Oklahoma City, Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28/11 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7/11 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4/11 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (28,144) are Shaquille O’Neal (5th/28,596), Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. In 2009-10, 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).


*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau






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