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Cleveland at Los Angeles

LeBron, Cavs heat up in fourth, extend Lakers' losing streak

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- After a couple of mediocre shooting games, LeBron James was at his All-Star best Thursday night.

The key was being aggressive.

James scored 38 points, six teammates reached double figures, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Los Angeles 114-108 to extend the Lakers' losing streak to five games, matching the longest of coach Phil Jackson's career.

James shot 10 of 16 from the floor and 18-of-22 from the foul line to lead the Cavaliers to their first victory over the Lakers at Staples Center following seven losses. In his previous two games, he made 14 of 41 field goal attempts and 13 of 21 free throws.

"Every player in this league has those types of stretches," James said. "I don't let a few games irritate my game or stop me from taking a lot of shots. I'm a career 48 percent shooter from the field.

"I just wanted to be aggressive. I came out with energy and my team fed off that."

The win was the fourth in five games for the Cavaliers (31-22), who enter the All-Star break with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

"LeBron attacked tonight," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "When he attacks like this, he's very hard to guard. He didn't waste any dribbles, he didn't waste any movement. Everything he did was with a purpose."

Anderson Varejao, filling in at center for Zydrunas Ilgauskas, added 15 points and 11 rebounds, Larry Hughes scored 14, and Eric Snow had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers.

Jackson-coached teams have lost five straight games only three times. His teams are 907-377 in 16 seasons and have won nine championships -- six in Chicago and three in Los Angeles.

The Lakers (30-24) have lost 11 of their last 15 games.

"It's about playing with a certain sense of urgency, I think, and I don't think it sunk in," Jackson said of the Lakers' performance. "I think they're either too young or I didn't bring the message to them strongly enough."

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points, six rebounds and five assists. Lamar Odom had 20 points and eight rebounds and Sasha Vujacic scored 14 for Los Angeles.

The game was the second between the teams in a five-day span. Bryant outscored James 36-18 last Sunday, but the Cavaliers rallied for a 99-90 victory in the finale of the Lakers' eight-game road trip.

Bryant and James will be on opposite sides again Sunday, when Bryant starts for the Western Conference and James for the East in the All-Star game.

There were 61 personal fouls and four technicals called in a game that took two hours and 52 minutes to play. The teams combined to attempt 97 free throws.

James' baseline jumper over Bryant with 3:05 remaining gave Cleveland a 102-101 lead, and a 3-pointer by Sasha Pavlovic 31 seconds later put the Cavaliers ahead by four.

"I didn't shoot well all game," Pavlovic said. "I think I was more focused on that shot because I missed three in a row before that. They left me wide open."

A 3-pointer by Bryant with 34.3 seconds left moved the Lakers within one. James made a foul shot with 20 seconds remaining before missing the second, but Varejao got the rebound, the Lakers finally fouled James again with 11.7 seconds to play, and he made two free throws.

Bryant missed another 3-pointer with about eight seconds left, and Varejao made two free throws to complete the scoring.

"When you have a lot of free throws, it chops the game up quite a bit," Bryant said. "But I'm not complaining. I'd love to march to the free throw line 15 times a night."

Bryant shot 9 of 22 from the floor and was 14 of 15 from the foul line.

The Lakers outscored the Cavaliers 9-2 to start the fourth quarter for a 94-93 lead. Neither team led by more than four points after that until Varejao's late foul shots.

Notes

  • Neither team led by more than eight points.
  • The Cavaliers played without Ilgauskas for the second straight game because of family health matters. Cleveland G Daniel Gibson also sat out due to a sprained left big toe.
  • Lakers F Luke Walton missed his 11th game and C Kwame Brown his 23rd -- both because of sprained ankles.
  • James shrugged off recent remarks made by Washington's Gilbert Arenas, who told CSTV.com the Cleveland star doesn't want to take end-of-game pressure shots. "It doesn't matter to me," James said. "As long as your teammates look to you as a leader, it doesn't matter."
  • The Cavaliers have a 13-8 record against Western Conference teams and the Lakers are 13-14 against the East.
  • Lakers swing man Maurice Evans sustained what team spokesman John Black called a moderate sprain of the left ankle.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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LeBron takes flight late, dropping 10 fourth-quarter points on the struggling Lakers.  (Getty Images)
LeBron takes flight late, dropping 10 fourth-quarter points on the struggling Lakers. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Cleveland (31-22) «29273523114
L.A. Lakers (30-24) 28263123108
CLE:L. James 38 Pts
CLE:A. Varejao 11 Reb
CLE:E. Snow 5 Ast
LAL:K. Bryant 34 Pts
LAL:A. Bynum 9 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 5 Ast
Players of the Game
Los AngelesCleveland

K. Bryant

L. James
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
34653843
Cleveland
L. Hughes, SG425-183-1051414
L. James, SF4010-1618-2243438
A. Varejao, PF375-85-7111415
E. Snow, PG352-29-1085413
D. Gooden, PF335-122-261512
S. Pavlovic, SF254-112-232111
D. Marshall, PF144-52-260211
S. Pollard, C70-00-02030
D. Jones, PG60-20-00010
Z. Ilgauskas, CDid Not Play
I. Newble, SFDid Not Play
D. Wesley, SGDid Not Play
D. Jones, PFDid Not Play
S. Brown, SGDid Not Play
D. Gibson, PGDid Not Play
Totals 35-7441-55451328114
 47.3%74.5% 
Los Angeles
K. Bryant, SG419-2214-1565334
L. Odom, SF417-145-883520
S. Parker, PG355-110-024112
A. Bynum, C285-72-390612
V. Radmanovic, PF214-111-34449
S. Vujacic, PG274-74-541314
R. Turiaf, PF151-20-45152
M. Evans, SG120-61-24021
B. Cook, PF111-52-24224
J. Farmar, PG110-10-01120
A. McKie, SGDid Not Play
S. Williams, PGDid Not Play
C. Mihm, CDid Not Play
K. Brown, CDid Not Play
L. Walton, SFDid Not Play
Totals 36-8629-42472133108
 41.9%69.0% 
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