LeBron And Cavaliers Hold Off Kobe And The Lakers, 93-87

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James continue to do battle in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers and Cavaliers are neck-and-neck. Stay with SB Nation for updates, analysis and more throughout the night.

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VIDEO: Highlights Of The Lakers-Cavaliers Thriller

Missed the Lakers-Cavaliers game the first time? Watch the highlights to get some idea of how intense and tight this game was.


 

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Cavaliers 93, Lakers 87: LeBron, Cleveland Rally Past Los Angeles

For more on this super mage epic NBA game, check out our Cavs blog, Fear The Sword, and our Lakers blog, Silver Screen and Roll.

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James' layup in traffic with 40.5 seconds to play gave Cleveland the lead for good, as the Cavaliers rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers, 93-87, at Quicken Loans Arena.

James scored 37 points with nine assists and five rebounds, while J.J. Hickson notched a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds and Shaquille O'Neal added 13 points and six boards. Anderson Varejao added 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Cavaliers, who have won the first two games on a three-game residency.

James picked up the slack in the backcourt in the absence of Mo Williams, who will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a left shoulder sprain.

It was a season sweep for the Cavs, who also beat the Lakers on Christmas Day, 102-87, at Staples Center. Cleveland has won seven of the last nine meetings.

Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to 25,000 career points with a late second-quarter free throw and finished with 31 points, but he needed 31 shots to do it and grabbed only two rebounds. Pau Gasol donated 13 points with eight rebounds and Lamar Odom notched 10 points with 10 boards for the Lakers, who entered with the NBA's best record and started an eight-game road trip in Cleveland.

James broke a tie game with an end-to-end layup for an 89-87 lead with 40.5 seconds left, but Gasol was fouled on the other end with 24.1 seconds to play. The 85 percent foul shooter missed both, and James was fouled with 21.2 seconds remaining. He made the first, but missed the second, only to have the whistle blow for a loose ball foul on the Lakers. Varejao stepped to the foul line and made both attempts for a 92-87 edge with 20.7 seconds left and Cleveland held on from there.

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Kobe Takes Some Subtle Jabs, Is Much More Interesting Uncensored

It’s nothing special, but in anticipation of tonight’s uber-hyped matchup between Kobe and Lebron, the media will jump at any morsel handed down from either superstar. With that in mind, you can be sure you’ll hear about Kobe’s quick thoughts today at shootaround. According to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Kobe dismissed the Cavs-Lakers matchup, saying it’s “Not a rivalry,” and said that if Lebron entered the dunk contest, he be a “Close second to Shannon Brown.”

But it’s times like this when it behooves us to remind ourselves that Kobe does not, in fact, always deliver this sort of bland, unimaginative trash talk. And besides, Kobe’s got plenty of respect for Lebron.

To wit, please listen to this scathingly NSFW clip from the Jamie Foxx radio show. Starting at 3:40, he tells a pretty ridiculous story about Kobe. Jamie Foxx and his entourage are just as entertaining. Samples:

Kobe on the Celtics: "What the F— they got to do with ME?

Kobe on Lebron: “He’s a bad motherf——”

Kobe on Jamie Foxx’s Mavericks allegiance: “Why would you do that? You a winner baby. Why would you do that?”

Kobe may be offering subversive jabs at the Cavs and Lebron this afternoon, but something tells me that behind closed doors, he’d be a whole lot more entertaining. If only Jamie Foxx were behind those closed doors…

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