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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013

Lakers top Cavs to end six-game skid

AP

LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard arrived at Staples Center expecting to sit out another game to rest his injured shoulder. He ended up helping the Los Angeles Lakers out of their longest losing streak in nearly six years, which made that shoulder feel a whole lot better.

News photo
With authority: Dwight Howard dunks during the Lakers' 113-93 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday. AP

Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a three-game absence, and the Lakers snapped their six-game losing streak with a 113-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

"When we play like this, we win, and we win big," Howard said. "We've just got to continue to learn from games like that, and hopefully we can just string together some wins."

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, who finally earned their first victory of 2013 while ending their longest skid since February 2007. Howard went 9-for-11 despite his torn labrum while leading Los Angeles to a comfortable victory over the lowly Cavaliers, who beat the Lakers last month.

Steve Nash said the win was "mandatory" for the Lakers, and they played with an appropriate effort. Nash had 10 points and nine assists for the Lakers, whose skid has been severe enough to cause fans to worry about this star-packed roster's playoff chances even in mid-January.

"I don't want to overdo it, (but) I don't want to undersell it, either," Nash said. "We have to make up that ground. In so many areas, it was big to get a win tonight and have something to build on."

After Oklahoma City ran the Lakers out of Staples Center on Friday night in a 116-101 victory, a downbeat coach Mike D'Antoni told his players that "our season starts Sunday." Opening day went well for the Lakers, but much bigger challenges loom — including the Miami Heat's visit on Thursday.

Thunder 87, Trail Blazers 83

In Portland, Kevin Durant had 33 points and Oklahoma City snapped the Blazers' nine-game winning streak at the Rose Garden.

Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who played without starters Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha because of injuries.

Spurs 106, Timberwolves 89

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 20 points help the Spurs extend their home winning streak to 12 games.

Gary Neal was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in scoring 15 points for San Antonio, which beat Minnesota at home for the 16th straight time.

Nets 97, Pacers 86

In New York, Deron Williams had 22 points and nine assists, Joe Johnson scored 20 points and Brooklyn rallied from 12 points down in the third quarter.

Brook Lopez scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and also finished with nine rebounds to help the Nets win their season-high sixth straight.

Knicks 100, Hornets 87

In New York, Carmelo Anthony snapped out of a slow start by scoring 18 of his 27 points in the second quarter, and the Knicks ended their season-high, three-game losing streak.

Bucks 107, Raptors 96

In Toronto, Brandon Jennings had 19 points and 10 assists, rookie John Henson scored 19 and Milwaukee rallied from a 20-point first quarter deficit to beat the Raptors for the eighth straight time.

Nuggets 116, Warriors 105

In Denver, Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, Ty Lawson had 20, and the Nuggets rallied for their season-high fifth straight win.



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