Lakers-Cavaliers: Lakers get dumped by Cavaliers
Cavaliers 104, Lakers 99 (final)
This was a Cavaliers team the Lakers beat by 55 points last month. This was a Cavaliers team that lost 26 consecutive games before they beat L.A.'s other team, the Clippers.
And this was a Cavaliers team with the worst record in the NBA.
Now they are the Cavaliers team that defeated the back-to-back NBA champion Lakers.
Pau Gasol had 30 points and 20 rebounds, but it did no good for the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant had 17 points, but he was just eight-for-24 shooting from the field, one for six from three-point range.
Bryant had 12 rebounds, but he also had seven turnovers.
Ramon Sessions, a reserve guard who saw increased minutes with Mo Williams injured, led the Cavaliers with 32 points and eight assists.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 12 ponits in the fourth quarter before they played hard, before they tried to make it a game.
Cavaliers 74, Lakers 71 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers, losing to the worst team in basketball, had a scary moment in the third quarter when Shannon Brown went down hard, rolling in pain.
Brown eventually got up, limped to the bench and then came back out to make two free throws.
Then he got a steal and scored on a layup to bring the Lakers to within 72-68.
Brown's play seemed to inspire the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant made a three-pointer to pull the Lakers to within 72-71.
Cavaliers 51, Lakers 46 (end of first half)
Just when it appreared the Lakers woke up from their first-quarter slumber, they fell right back to sleep toward the end of the second quarter.
They constantly got beat in transition, unable to get back on defense.
It really showed after Anthony Parker made a jumper just before the first half ended, giving the Cavaliers a five-point lead.
Pau Gasol, the only Laker really playing well, had 20 points and 12 rebounds, seven offensive, in the first half. He was six-of-12 shooting from the field and made all eight of his free throws.
The Lakers shot 39.9% (17 of 43) from the field in the half, with Andrew Bynum missing all seven of his attempts.
Kobe Bryant has six points on three-of-eight shooting.
Cleveland, which shot 44.4% (20 of 45) from the field in the half, was led by the 16 points of reserve guard Ramon Sessions and 13 points from Antawn Jamison.
Cavaliers 29, Lakers 21 (end of first quarter)
Yes, it's true.
The Lakers trailed the lowly Cavaliers at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers once were downy by 10 points in the quarter -- 10 points!
This was the same Cleveland team that the Lakers beat by 55 points in Los Angeles in early January.
The Lakers shot 25% (six for 24) from the field in the first quarter.
It was a bad start for the Lakers when Kobe Bryant was called for his second foul with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
Then, while he was on his way to the bench after being replaced by Shannon Brown, Bryant was given a technical foul.
The Lakers, looking to bounce back from embarrassing back-to-back losses at Orlando and Charlotte, are in Cleveland for the first time this year to play the Cavaliers without LeBron James.
The Lakers beat the Cavaliers by 55 points in early January, so L.A. knows how bad the Cavaliers can be without James, who took his talents to Miami.
But Lakers Caoch Phil Jackson said he noticed a difference at Quicken Loans Arena for Wednesday night's game against the Cavaliers.
"It was a period of time that this town really feasted on his ability," Jackson said. "They were the witnesses, as they had the big sign over the building. And they witnessed him leaving and now it's a real hole. That's unfortunate for the town and for the team."
Jackson doesn't want his team to think just because they smashed the Cavaliers in their January game to think it's going to be easy this time.
"All I told them was that [the Cavaliers] are going to come out and try to avenge that loss," Jackson said.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Cleveland
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant splits the defense of Cavaliers guards Anthony Parker, left, and Ramon Sessions on a drive down the lane Wednesday night in Cleveland. Credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press