There truly has not been a lot to cheer about so far this season for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was until Tuesday night, when reigning NBA Rookie Of The Year, point guard Kyrie Irving returned from a stint on the injured list with a double-double; helping the Cavaliers top the Los Angeles Lakers at Quicken Loans Arena, by a final margin of 100-94. After missing the last 11 games recovering from a broken finger, he came back in midseason form knocking down 28 points and dishing off 11 assists in the victory, while C.J. Miles also added 28 points and center Anderson Varejao had another 20 points for the night.
For the Lakers, it was yet another game when All-Star guard Kobe Bryant attempted to play one on five ball scoring 42 points for the night. That strategy has not worked all season for the team from the left coast, as the squad has just one win in the eleven games that Bryant has dropped 30 or more points in a contest. Kobe brought his team back into the contest, but failed to get them over the hump for the victory. Dwight Howard racked up a double-double with 19 points and 20 boards, but Metta World Peace, was the only other Lakers player in double figures with 13 points for the night.
The contest remained tight for most of the opening period, but the Cavaliers would break a 23-23 tie with 1:14 left in the quarter as they scored the last six points of the first heading into the second on top 29-23. The home team would dominate the next quarter holding a substantial lead for most of the period, heading into their locker room as the fame reached the half with a 54-39 advantage.
Cleveland maintained their cushion through much of the third, but Bryant led his team back from the edge of the abyss late in the period. After trailing by 16 points early in the quarter, the Lakers veteran brought him squad to within three points of their opponents, before ending the period trailing 68-62, as Irving buried a 27 foot trey at the buzzer. Los Angeles would cut their deficit to two points in the final 12 minutes of action, but Cleveland held on for the win, sending Cavaliers fans home with an early Christmas present.
The victory gives Cleveland a record of 5-17 and they head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Friday, while Los Angeles has a 9-13 mark and will be at Madison Square Garden on Saturday to take on the Knicks.