LOS ANGELES (AP) LeBron James scored 36 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped their six-game losing streak with a 109-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night despite Kobe Bryant’s 19 points and career-high 17 assists.
Kyrie Irving added 22 points for Cleveland, which had lost nine of 10 before James held off Bryant down the stretch in an entertaining duel between two basketball icons.
Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 1:54 left and two free throws with 43 seconds to play, cutting Cleveland’s lead to 103-99. But James drove past Bryant for an acrobatic layup with 20.9 seconds left, and Bryant missed a jumper that essentially ended it.
Jordan Hill scored 20 points in the Lakers’ ninth loss in 12 games.
BUCKS 95, KNICKS 79
LONDON (AP) – O.J. Mayo scored 22 points, Brandon Knight had 20 points and six steals, and Milwaukee routed New York, extending the Knicks’ franchise-record losing streak to 16.
With the Knicks showing why they have lost 26 of 27 games and are an NBA-worst 5-36, the contest was a poor advertisement for the NBA in its annual London game that showcases its brand overseas.
The Knicks missed their first 10 shots – three in a 6-second span – and gave up 14 offensive rebounds, 10 in the first half. The Bucks took a 12-0 lead, were up by 24 in the second quarter and never let New York closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The return of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire did little to spark New York.
Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points. Stoudemire was scoreless in 8 first-half minutes and didn’t play after the break. Anthony missed the previous six games because of a knee problem, and Stoudemire had been sidelined since Dec. 25, also with a knee injury.
ROCKETS 112, THUNDER 101
HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden scored 15 of his 31 points in Houston’s big first quarter against Oklahoma City.
Harden came just short of a triple-double with 10 assists and nine rebounds. Trevor Ariza added 17 points and four steals for Houston. The Rockets led 40-18 after one and bounced back after a loss to Orlando on Wednesday night that snapped a four-game winning streak.
Kevin Durant had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder. They have lost three of their last four games.