NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving dropped 28 points in his return Tuesday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers out-dueled Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers
After being sidelined for 11 games due to a broken finger, Irving stepped back on the court and led the Cavs to a 100-94 victory against the struggling Lakers.
“He just loves the game of basketball,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said of Irving, who, in addition to scoring 28 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed six boards in 39 minutes of playing time. “He loves the competition. He likes being put in that position where he has to deliver.”
On the Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard added 19 points and 20 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to stop Los Angeles from losing for the eighth time in 11 games and to a Cleveland team that came in with only four wins.
“We have to stop the bleeding — somehow,” said Howard, who forced a trade this summer from Orlando to join the Lakers. “We can’t let this kill our spirits too much. This is tough on all of us right now.”
Kobe, speaking of the Lakers (9-13) recent losing streak, added:
‘‘This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too. ‘We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we’re not. It’s extremely frustrating. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re still finding ways to lose games.”
With the win over the Lakers the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 5-17 for the season.
Watch highlights from Kyrie Irving vs. Kobe Bryant match up in the video below: