CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving shined in his return with 28 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, outdueling Kobe Bryant in a thrilling 100-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant had 42 points as the two stars, young and old, traded baskets and momentum throughout the second half. The victory snapped the Cavs’ five-game losing streak while sending the Lakers tumbling to their third-straight loss and their fifth in six games.
Irving made his return a week early from a fractured left index finger and dazzled, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter while Bryant had 16 in the fourth.
The Cavs built a 16-point lead at the half, but this time staved off a furious Lakers comeback. The Lakers had the deficit down to 65-62 late in the third quarter before Irving hit a 3-pointer at the quarter buzzer to push the lead back to six and give the Cavs some breathing room entering the fourth quarter.
Dwight Howard had 19 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers and Metta World Peace added 13.
In addition to Irving, C.J. Miles played his best game of the season. Coach Byron Scott inserted him into the starting lineup because he liked the way Miles has played lately and he responded with a season-high 28 points. Anderson Varejao had 20 points and nine rebounds, including a big rebound and a huge jumper, both in the game’s final minute, to seal the victory.