National Basketball Association
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          === Lakers fall in Cleveland despite Bryant's 42 points ===
 
 Cleveland,  OH (Sports Network) - Kyrie Irving dropped in 28 points and handed
 out  11  assists in  his return  to the  hardwood on  Tuesday as the Cleveland
 Cavaliers knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers, 100-94, at Quicken Loans Arena.
 
 Irving  saw his first  game action since fracturing his left index finger in a
 Nov. 18 loss at Philadelphia.
 
 "I  was just waiting  for the doctors to clear me. I'm thankful they did and I
 got to get back out there tonight," Irving said. "I felt good."
 
 C.J.  Miles  buried five three-pointers en  route to 28 points, while Anderson
 Varejao  contributed 20 points, nine boards and five assists for the Cavs, who
 snapped a five-game skid.
 
 Alonzo Gee donated 17 points and five rebounds in the triumph.
 
 Kobe Bryant went off for a game-high 42 points on 16-of-28 shooting to go with
 five rebounds, while Dwight Howard added 19 points and 20 boards for the free-
 falling Lakers, who have lost eight of their last 11 games.
 
 Metta  World Peace finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the visitors,
 who played without forward Pau Gasol for the fifth consecutive game.
 
 "It's gut-check time. We have to look in the mirror and fix some things," said
 Lakers forward Antawn Jamison.
 
 A  12-foot jumper  by Irving followed by  1-of-2 from the line by Varejao gave
 the  Cavs their largest  lead of the night, 57-41, but the home side shot just
 5-of-22  from the  field in  the  third quarter  which allowed  the Lakers  to
 get back into the game.
 
 Trailing  by 12 with 4:20 to play in the stanza, Los Angeles reeled off a 12-3
 burst  to cut  its deficit  to 65-62  thanks to  a Bryant  bucket, but  Irving
 drained a much-needed trey with one-tenth of a second on the clock to give the
 Cavs a 68-62 lead after three.
 
 A  pair of free  throws from Howard with 7:36 to play pulled the Lakers within
 77-75, but the Cavs answered with five straight points on Irving's three-point
 play and a Miles jumper to push the margin back to seven with 6:28 left.
 
 Later in the frame, Bryant buried a deep 3-ball with 28.5 on the clock to make
 it  a one-possession game, 95-92, but Varejao and Miles hit clutch free throws
 down the stretch to help the Cavs hang on for the win.
 
 It  was closely contested for the majority of the opening frame as a quick 11-
 footer jumper by Bryant produced the quarter's fifth tie at 23-23 with 1:14 to
 go.
 
 The  Cavs, though, scored  the final six points of the quarter to take a 29-23
 lead into the second session.
 
 Los Angeles began the second quarter with a quick 8-1 spurt, capped by a Jodie
 Meeks 3-pointer which put the visitors ahead, 31-30 with 8:12 on the clock. It
 wasn't  enough  to stem  the  tide  as the  Cavaliers  took  control over  the
 remainder  of the  first half thanks to  a 14-2 surge over the next three-plus
 minutes to snag a comfortable 44-33 lead.
 
 Miles  netted the first seven points during the run, which was finished off by
 a Varejao 18-foot jump shot with 4:07 to play before the break.
 
 Howard  hit a pair from the line after a dunk to cut the deficit to seven, but
 Irving hit two jumpers and Miles drained a triple, then Gee added an alley-oop
 slam and free throw as the Cavs held a 54-39 cushion at the half.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Lakers have lost seven of their last eight games in Cleveland and fell to
 2-10  this season  when trailing at halftime ... Cleveland snapped a four-game
 home  losing streak and improved to 3-6 at Quicken Loans Arena this season ...
 Los  Angeles shot 41.3  percent from the floor and just 25-of-40 from the free
 throw line ... Cleveland converted 19 LA turnovers into 24 points.
 
 12/12 00:00:13 ET