David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland point guard's return from injury helps give Cavs a boost to beat the Lakers.
Irving paced the Cavs with 28 points, 11 assists and six rebounds while making four of six three-point shots. C.J. Miles also added 28 points for Cleveland.
Cleveland appeared to have control of the game in the first half, taking a 54-39 lead to the break at halftime. The Cavs scored just 14 third-quarter points as the Bryant led a furious charge back into the game with an array of difficult shots as the Lakers trimmed the lead to six points heading into the final quarter.
Once again, Bryant tried to carry the Lakers to victory, scoring 42 points in his battle with Irving. But his high-scoring effort left the Lakers with their third consecutive loss and the fifth loss in five games. Center Dwight Howard added 19 points and 20 rebounds in the losing effort.
Irving missed 11 games with a broken finger before his return to action on Tuesday night against the Lakers. The Cavs were 2-9 with Irving sidelined.
Cleveland is back in action at Indiana on Wednesday night, while the Lakers continue their road trip on Thursday when they face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.