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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 23 16 23 32 94
Play by Play Cleveland Cavaliers 29 25 14 32 100
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Irving and Cavs deal Lakers another loss, 100-94

By TOM WITHERS


Posted Dec 11 2012 9:36PM

CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who dropped to a new low Tuesday night in a tumultuous season.

Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes and showed off his dizzying array of moves as the Cavs ended a five-game losing streak.

Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard had 19 points and 20 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to stop the Lakers from losing for the eighth time in 11 games and to a Cleveland team that came in with just four wins.

C.J. Miles scored 28 in his first start this season for the Cavs.

Los Angeles was without starting forward Pau Gasol, who missed his fifth straight game with knee tendinitis.

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, 42
Rebounds Howard, 20
Assists Irving (CLE), 11
Steals Varejao (CLE), 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On Kyrie Irving’s impact on the game:
“He’s tough. When you get him in dire straits he will hit shots you can’t guard. Irving is good. He hits a couple of very hard shots and guess what? You lose the game.”

On Lakers’ recent struggles:
“We play at a slow-pace and we struggle. It may be a mindset. We’ve got to search hard for some heart and play harder.”

On Cavaliers building an early lead:
“We lost that game in the first half because we didn’t defend with the energy we had in the second half. In the state that we are in, that’s inexcusable.”




Antawn Jamison:

On the loss tonight:
“It seems like Groundhog’s Day. It’s the same thing over and over as far as giving a team life. This team (Cavaliers) has been struggling without a lot of their guys and they came out and made eight out of ten (shots). It’s gut-check time. We have to look in the mirror and fix some things.”

On improved play in second half:
“We’re a good enough team that we should be doing this for a full 48 minutes. We have yet to put together a good effort for a full 48-minute game.”




Byron Scott:

On the game tonight:
“Defensively tonight, we were great. For 48 minutes we played some of the best defense. As I told the guys after the game, that’s how we have to play. We have to be aggressive, be physical, and if we play that way, we can be a pretty good basketball team.”

On Kyrie Irving returning to the lineup:
“It was good to have Kyrie back. I thought he played great but we had so many other good contributions from so many guys. Tristan rebounding the ball and defending, Andy being Andy, and C.J. really starting to step up his game and playing extremely well. Even though Kobe scored 42, I thought Alonzo did a terrific job of challenging every shot. It really doesn’t matter who you put on that guy. He’s just that good.”

On Kyrie’s play late in the game:
“He just loves to play basketball. He loves the competition. He likes being put in the position of having to deliver. Again, he’s just a special young man… I think from a confidence standpoint, our guys feel pretty good. Guys were excited to see Kyrie back on the floor. You saw that from practice on Monday and it carried over into tonight’s game. We’ll see how it goes from this point on. I didn’t think I was going to play him 37, 38 minutes tonight. I was just going with the flow of the game. Tomorrow is the biggest test. It’s his first back-to-back in a month. We’ll see how he deals with that.”

On putting C.J. Miles in the starting lineup:
“I started him because he was playing really well the last three or four games, and I thought his confidence was coming back. The second thing was that he’s been taking good shots, not trying to do too much, and letting the game come to him. He’s been doing a really good job in practice of setting people up, making hard cuts and taking shots when they’re given to him. When he plays that type of role, he can be really effective for us.”




Kyrie Irving:

On how he felt on the floor tonight:
“I felt good. I thought we competed on both ends of the floor. Obviously, Kobe (Bryant) will do what he does, but we dug deep for a full 48 minutes.”

On if his finger affected his play at all:
“I felt that I rushed my shots a little bit, especially in the second half when they started shadowing me on the ball. My teammates did a great job of slowing me down. We were really together tonight and that’s why we got the win.”

On if he waited for this particular game to come back:
“No, I was just waiting for the doctors to clear me. I’m thankful they did and I got to get back out there tonight.”

On his passing tonight:
“I was just staying aggressive the entire game and finding my teammates. I worked with the bigs in practice yesterday and told them what spots to be at and that I’d find them.”




C.J. Miles:

On the impact Kyrie made tonight:
“He comes out there and he makes plays for himself and others. There’s a lot more space for the guys off the ball because he requires so much attention. He made some big shots and helped set the tempo well. He did what we needed him to do and he was who we thought he was.”

On his confidence level:
“I’m just playing hard and am going out there and staying within the system. My teammates have been the biggest supporters of me; setting screens and giving me open looks. I can’t do anything without them.”

On why he was shooting so well tonight:
“I got a lot of good looks, especially in the beginning of the game. I would catch the ball and guys would be three steps away instead of one, and that’s the easiest shot you can get. I had more time to square myself, which made it easy.”

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LAKERS-CAVALIERS PREVIEW

By JORDAN GARRETSON

Posted Dec 10 2012 4:14PM

While the Los Angeles Lakers' offense has improved since Mike D'Antoni took over as coach, those strides seem to be coming at the cost of a defense which continues to struggle.

The Lakers are still searching for answers as they begin a four-game road trip Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hope Kyrie Irving's return will help them snap a five-game skid.

Los Angeles (9-12) has dropped two straight and four of five, and is 4-7 since D'Antoni took the reigns after Mike Brown was fired. Brown's termination was partially due to the Lakers' offensive struggles, which D'Antoni has seemingly helped. They're averaging 103.0 points with D'Antoni at the helm after putting up 97.8 per game under Brown.

The offense hasn't been the problem, though, as Los Angeles averaged 106.5 points in its last four losses. The Lakers allowed opponents to average 112.8 points and shoot 47.2 percent in those games.

Los Angeles limited opponents to 95.2 points per game under Brown but has given up at least 100 in seven of D'Antoni's 11 contests, including a 117-110 home loss to Utah on Sunday.

"I just don't think we've had a gut-check moment yet," D'Antoni said. "At some point we're going to draw a line in the sand and that's it, you have to fight. It seems like things happen on the court that get us down. Are there possessions we just throw away? Yeah. We have too many guys who will take a possession off."

Teams have especially exploited the Lakers' transition defense. Utah outscored them 19-4 on the fast break and they've been outscored 76-42 in transition over the last four games.

"Our half-court defense is OK, just giving up too many transition points," said Kobe Bryant, averaging a league-best 28.6 points.

Cavaliers (4-17) will likely present a bigger challenge than initially expected, as Irving is expected to play after missing the last 11 games with a fractured finger. Without Irving and his team-leading 22.9 points per game, Cleveland lost nine times, the last four of which were also missed by second-leading scorer Dion Waiters (15.2 ppg).

Waiters is out because of a sprained left ankle and didn't practice Monday, but Irving's return should be a big boost for a team averaging 83.5 points over its last four.

"I think all the guys are looking forward to having Irving back out there because he does make most of our guys' job a lot easier because he creates so much for himself and for his teammates," coach Byron Scott said. "I'm sure the guys will be happy to have him back out there."

Cleveland got another scare in a 104-97 home loss to Detroit on Saturday. Anderson Varejao exited in the second quarter with a bruised left elbow, but X-rays were negative and he finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds while playing with the elbow wrapped.

Pau Gasol (knee) has missed the last four games for the Lakers, while Steve Nash has sat out 19 with a small fracture in his left leg. D'Antoni said both could return during the trip.

Bryant scored 42 points in a 97-92 home win against the Cavaliers last season. Los Angeles, 2-6 on the road, has lost six of its last seven trips to Cleveland.


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  
  #4 JamisonPF #13 Thompson  
  #12 Howard C #17 Varejao  
  #24 Bryant SG #1 Gibson  
  #21 Duhon PG #2 Irving  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(tendinitis, left and right knees) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Magic Dopm Waiters
(left ankle sprain) is TBD.
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12/11 - LAL @ CLE
01/13 - CLE @ LAL
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