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NBA Without Kobe, Lakers still manage to beat Cleveland



Published: Fri, January 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LeBron James had 28 points for the Cavs, in a 98-94 loss.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant went down hard and did not return, though the Los Angeles Lakers were able to defeat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers without him.

Bryant sustained what the team called a severely sprained right ankle and had to be helped off the court early in a 98-94 victory Thursday night. X-rays were negative, but Bryant will have an MRI today.

Lamar Odom had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Caron Butler added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who won for the third time in four games.

James led Cleveland with 28 points, a season-high 13 rebounds and nine assists to just miss his first career triple-double.

Jeff McInnis added 20 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Bryant, the NBA's second-leading scorer with a 28.2-point average, was injured when he landed on Ira Newble's right foot while going for a rebound under the Cavaliers' basket with 5:39 to go in the first quarter.

Bryant had two points and three assists before leaving with the score tied at 15.

Down the stretch

Eric Snow's 3-pointer -- his only points of the game -- gave the Cavaliers an 87-86 lead with 2:41 to play. But a basket by Odom and two free throws by Chucky Atkins put the Lakers on top 90-87 with 1:38 left.

Ilgauskas made a free throw to draw the Cavaliers within two points, but Atkins and Butler made two foul shots each to put the Lakers ahead 94-88 with 22.4 seconds remaining.

McInnis and James made 3-pointers to move the Cavaliers within one point with 9.8 seconds to go.

Butler made a foul shot before James missed a 3-pointer that could have given Cleveland the lead. Odom's two free throws with 1.8 seconds to play completed the scoring.




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