LeBron scores 41, Cavs stop Kobe, Lakers at the end for 96-93 victory Print
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Monday, 28 January 2008 00:37
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 The LeBron James-Kobe Bryant showdown came down to the last shot - and the Cavaliers wouldn't let the Lakers take it.
Cleveland forced Bryant to give the ball up, none of his teammates stepped up to shoot it, and the Cavs escaped with a 96-93 victory Sunday.
James won his personal matchup with Bryant in a duel of the NBA's leading scorers, tallying 14 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland's fifth straight win over the Lakers.
``For them to not even get a shot off, that's what it's been about for us lately,'' James said. ``We've been extremely conscious of playing defense the right way. We thought that Kobe was going to take the shot, of course. We just tried to get a hand up, contain them.''
Hedo Turkoglu and Kevin Martin wouldn't be stopped at the end of their games. Turkoglu's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Orlando a 96-93 victory over Boston, while Martin's bucket as time expired gave Sacramento a 103-101 win that extended Seattle's franchise-record losing streak to 14 games.
In Los Angeles, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 6:14 to play, and Hughes also scored 16 points for the Cavaliers (24-19), who won for the 12th time in 15 games.
Bryant scored nine of his 33 points in the final period, and also had 12 rebounds and six assists, but it wouldn't be enough to keep the Lakers from losing their third straight to match their longest losing streak of the season.
In Sunday's other NBA games, it was: Phoenix 88, Chicago 77; Portland 94, Atlanta 93; Milwaukee 105, Washington 102 in overtime; Dallas 90, Denver 85; Minnesota 98, New Jersey 95; Utah 97, Houston 89; and Golden State 106, New York 104.
On the final play, the Cavs focused their defense on Bryant, who was forced to pass to Luke Walton. Walton didn't take the shot, and by the time he got the ball back to Bryant, it was too late.
``It was designed for me to come up from the top of the floor and get a good look at a 3,'' Bryant said regarding the last play. ``We had to run a dribble weave in that situation and they both came with me, so I kicked it out. I don't know if he had a clear look at the basket. I think they rotated to him pretty quickly. There's always other options.''
James made two late baskets, then hit two free throws to make it 96-93, setting the stage for the Cavs' defensive stand on the final sequence.
``That's really what you want. You want to not allow Kobe to get a clean look from the start of the play, make those guys make a couple passes, which we did, and not let them get a clean look,'' Cleveland's Larry Hughes said. ``Nobody wanted to shoot it.''
Magic 96, Celtics 93
Hedo Turkoglu nailed an off-balance 3-pointer with time expiring to lift Orlando to its second home win this season over Boston, which played without Kevin Garnett because of an abdominal strain.
Dwight Howard had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando, and Rashard Lewis scored 15 points.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points and nine rebounds, Ray Allen scored 17 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and five assists.
Kings 103, SuperSonics 101
Kevin Martin scored Sacramento's final five points, including a frantic race the length of the court for a 20-footer as the clock expired, and the Kings extended Seattle's franchise-record losing streak to 14.
Kevin Durant led the hosts with 19 points, but missed 15 of his 20 shots, and Wally Szczerbiak added 16. Seattle has yet to win in 2008 and didn't help its cause by missing 10 free throw attempts.
Suns 88, Bulls 77
Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points and Phoenix pulled away early in the fourth quarter in Chicago for its sixth win in seven games.
Kirk Hinrich did all he could to keep the Bulls in the game, finishing with 31 points - the second time in less than a week he scored more than 30.
Mavericks 90, Nuggets 85
Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, most coming over the final minutes to help Dallas hold off visiting Denver.
Allen Iverson had 23 points and nine assists, and Anthony Carter added 20 points, including a run of 11 straight in the fourth quarter. But Kenyon Martin had only eight and Linas Kleiza, starting for the injured Carmelo Anthony, had only eight.
Trail Blazers 94, Hawks 93
Brandon Roy scored 24 points, including the go-ahead free throw with 2.3 seconds left, and Portland erased a 19-point deficit to snap a two-game losing streak and improve its record at the Rose Garden to 18-4.
Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 19 points. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith each had 17.
Jazz 97, Rockets 89
Deron Williams had 17 points and 12 assists, Kyle Korver added 17 points, including two late 3-pointers, and Utah took advantage of Yao Ming's absence to beat host Houston.
Yao, voted the starting center for the Western Conference in next month's All-Star game, sat out with an upper respiratory infection, the first game he's missed this season.
Timberwolves 98, Nets 95
Al Jefferson scored a career-high 40 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, helping Minnesota extend visiting New Jersey's losing streak to nine.
Richard Jefferson scored 35 points and Vince Carter added 25, but New Jersey is on its longest skid since November 2004.
Bucks 105, Wizards 102, OT
Mo Williams scored 25 points, including two key 3-pointers, and Charlie Bell added 22 as short-handed Milwaukee beat Washington in overtime.
The Bucks overcame a career-high 40 points from the Wizards' Caron Butler to earn their third victory in the last 10 games and avenge a 24-point home loss to the Wizards on Jan. 4. Andrew Bogut added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks.
Warriors 106, Knicks 104
Stephen Jackson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Andris Biedrins had an NBA season-high 26 rebounds to help Golden State rally from another double-digit deficit.
Nate Robinson led New York with 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 21, and Eddy Curry had 17. But the Knicks, who had won five of seven, could not make the key plays down the stretch to begin a crucial five-game western swing with a win.
 

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