LeBron leads Cavs against Kobe and LA
(Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant and the slumping Los Angeles Lakers will
continue a four-game homestand this evening when they host LeBron James and
the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles, which is second in the Pacific Division behind Phoenix, has lost
four in a row and opened the homestand with a 107-106 loss versus the New York
Knicks on Tuesday. Jamal Crawford fed Eddy Curry with the go-ahead alley-oop
dunk with 7.1 seconds left in the game to lift New York.
Bryant had a game-high 31 points in the loss for the Lakers, who have
dropped eight of their last 11 games. Maurice Evans had 16 points and Lamar
Odom ended with 12 points and 10 boards, but missed the potential winning
jumper as time expired.
The Lakers will also host Portland and Boston on the homestand, and are 19-7
at the Staples Center this season.
Cleveland, meanwhile, had a three-game winning streak halted with Wednesday’s
99-98 loss at Utah in the opener of a three-game road trip.
Larry Hughes registered 33 points and Drew Gooden added 15 and 10 rebounds for
the Cavaliers, who are 10-15 on the road this season. James scored 23
points and pulled down 10 boards, but shot just 9-of-25 from the field.
The Cavs, who are 2 1/2 games behind Detroit in the Central standings, will
also visit the Toronto Raptors on the swing. On an injury note, Cleveland
center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (personal) is doubtful for tonight’s game.
Thursday’s showdown between Cleveland and Los Angeles is the second and final
meeting of the regular season. The Cavs just posted a 99-90 victory over LA on
Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena. James scored 18 points, while Aleksandar
Pavlovic had 21 points and Ilgauskas registered 17 and seven boards.
Cleveland has won three of the last four overall meetings, but has lost seven
straight after winning its last three at the Staples Center.
The Lakers and Cavs are playing their final contests before the All-Star Game,
set for Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Bryant and James will
both start for their respective conferences in the mid-season extravaganza.