KYRIE IRVING scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, who dropped to a new low Tuesday night in a tumultuous season.
Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes and showed off his dizzying array of moves as the Cavs ended a five-game losing streak.
Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard, who attempted 22 free throws, had 19 points and 20 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to stop the Lakers from losing for the eighth time in 11 games and to a Cleveland team that came in with only four wins.
C.J. Miles scored 28 in his first start this season for the Cavs.
Los Angeles was without starting forward Pau Gasol, who missed his fifth straight game with knee tendinitis, and point guard Steve Nash, still sidelined with a broken leg.
Before the game, Magic Johnson questioned new Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's system, saying, "It doesn't fit the talent the Lakers have."
The Lakers (9-13) are 4-8 in 12 games since D'Antoni took over from the fired Mike Brown.
"I'm not down on him yet as a coach," Johnson said earlier in the day at a Dodger Stadium appearance, although he criticized D'Antoni's plan to make the Lakers into a running team.
"You can't run with these guys," Johnson said. "There's one guy who can get up and down the court and that's Kobe. You've got to take that ball inside. That's how you win games."
In other games *
At Brooklyn, Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 45 points, Jason Kidd made the tiebreaking three-pointer with 24 seconds left, and the New York Knicks rallied from an early 17-point hole to beat the Nets, 100-97.
The Nets' Andray Blatche scored 23 points in place of Brook Lopez, who missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right foot.
* At Chicago, Blake Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Bulls, 94-89.
* At Detroit, Ty Lawson had 26 points, seven assists and four steals to help the Denver Nuggets defeat the Pistons, 101-94.
Corey Brewer added 15 points and Andre Iguodala had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets.
* At New Orleans, Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 77-70 win over the Hornets.