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Lakers try to end slump against lowly Cavaliers

After two losses, Lakers face the team they defeated by 55 points last month.

February 15, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers will be looking to snap their two-game losing streak against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers will be looking to snap their two-game… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Cleveland — Will the Lakers actually lose Wednesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Highly unlikely.

But they're definitely unhappy with the way they're playing, a promising 4-0 start on their trip reduced to 4-2 going into the finale against the hapless Cavaliers.

Consecutive blowout losses to Charlotte and Orlando have the Lakers wishing for the good old days of … last week?

"We were having pretty good sensations at the time, with the things that we were doing and the way we were playing," Pau Gasol said. "But we haven't been able to keep it up the last two games, for whatever reason, and it's a shame.

"With the team that we have...We can have a bad game. We understand that. But not two games in a row, let's put it that way."

A third consecutive loss would be stunning because it would come against the same team the Lakers pounded last month, 112-57, a game in which they set a team record for fewest points allowed since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. It was the Lakers' largest margin of victory since 1972, and they held the Cavaliers to 29.9% shooting.

The Cavaliers (9-46) lost an NBA-record 26 consecutive games before beating the Clippers in overtime last week, though they got drilled in their only game since then, at home, 115-100, against Washington.

The Lakers did not practice Tuesday, Coach Phil Jackson giving them a day to rest, but Gasol had one last thought before he left a quiet locker room Monday night in Charlotte: "We have to finish off the trip well in Cleveland."


The Lakers' 109-89 loss in Charlotte might have been the worst effort of the season for their reserves, outscored at one point, 43-15, before the final meaningless minutes.

Bobcats reserve center Nazi Mohammed had 16 points in 24 minutes and played like he deserved "a max contract," said Lakers forward Ron Artest. "Six years, $80 million, even if he's 38."

Mohammed's actually only 33, but the point was understood.

Shannon Brown had four points on two-for-nine shooting, Steve Blake was scoreless in 22 minutes and Lamar Odom got only nine points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.

The reserves made only eight of 26 shots (30.8%) in an 89-75 loss to Orlando on Sunday.

The bench will get a boost when small forward Matt Barnes returns in early March. He was averaging 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds before undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He has missed 19 games.

Grab your passport

Kobe Bryant turned a few heads last week when he said he would consider playing in Europe if there was an NBA lockout next season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern didn't stand in the way of such a move.

"If in fact there's a lockout, then the player is free during the course of the lockout to do what he wants to do if his contract is in effect," Stern told ESPN.

Bryant is under contract with the Lakers for three more years after this at a total of $83.5 million.

He said last week he "wouldn't be opposed" to playing overseas, particularly in Italy, where he spent part of his childhood.

Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.

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