In LeBron's final duel with Kobe, Cavs top Lakers 120-108

AP News
Posted: Mar 11, 2016 2:18 AM
In LeBron's final duel with Kobe, Cavs top Lakers 120-108

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 24 points while sharing a court with Kobe Bryant for the final time, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 120-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Bryant had 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting in an entertaining farewell duel between two of the greatest players in NBA history.

Bryant, who will retire after the season, ignored his constantly sore right shoulder to make sure he didn't miss his 22nd meeting with James on an NBA court, albeit never in the playoffs.

After starting the night with a pregame chat and hug with the crowd on its collective feet just to watch pregame warmups, Bryant and James both had vintage individual moments in the final edition of this friendly rivalry.

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and Channing Frye had 21 for the Cavaliers, who have won on the first two stops of their four-game West Coast road trip.

But the night belonged to Bryant and James, who have been parallel superstars for the past 13 seasons. The U.S. national team teammates are the No. 3 and No. 13 scorers in NBA history, with 30 combined All-Star selections and seven championship rings.

Bryant got a raucous standing ovation in the first quarter with a graceful post move, faking James into the air and then stepping around him for a layup. Bryant hit back-to-back jumpers in the second quarter while James threw down a pair of thunderous dunks.

Bryant scored seven quick points in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers stretched their lead.

James and Bryant returned to the game midway through the fourth quarter with Cleveland well in front. Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 3:17 to play to trim Cleveland's lead to 12 points, but went to the bench moments later with fans chanting his name.

D'Angelo Russell scored 24 points, Julius Randle added 15 and Marcelo Huertas had a career-high 13 for the Lakers, whose two-game winning streak ended.


Cavaliers: Timofey Mozgov played despite being questionable with an illness. ... Coach Tyronn Lue spent his first three NBA seasons with the Lakers, absorbing lessons from Bryant along the way. "It was just his work ethic, his determination and his will to win," Lue said. "In the summertime, if you wanted to work out with him, he's working out at 5:30 in the morning. And when we practiced during the season, he was there 2 1/2 hours, three hours before everyone else."

Lakers: Huertas, the Brazilian playmaker signed from Barcelona last summer, has been on a stretch of strong play after a quiet start to his NBA career. He scored nine points in the first quarter on 4-for-4 shooting. ... NFL MVP Cam Newton watched from courtside in a comically oversized hat similar to Pharrell Williams' trademark lid. Other celebrities in attendance included John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson.


Cavaliers: At Clippers on Sunday.

Lakers: Host Knicks on Sunday.