But the loss left Cleveland 1-3 for the week that started with a 98-78 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pacers went on to lose their next game at the Utah Jazz, 113-105 before finally notching another win in beating the Phoenix Suns, 101-90.
Cleveland won three of four games the week before surprising many by taking care of a soft spot in the schedule. Despite the road rash suffered with the 1-3 record this past week, Byron Scott's young team continues to show promise as rookie point guard Kyrie Irving has exceeded early expectations. As Fear The Sword notes, Scott and Irving deserve a lot of credit for the Cavs' play of late.
I was once again impressed by Byron Scott's halftime adjustments on defense. After allowing 59 points in the first half, the Cavs clamped down in the second half and allowed only 38 points in the second. Apart from the play of Kyrie Irving, I have to admit that Scott's ability to make effective adjustments mid-game is the most encouraging thing about the Cavaliers in this young season.
In fact, with the Cavs sitting at 5-6 for the season, were the playoffs to start right now they would be the number eight seed in the Eastern Conference. Talk about exceeding expectations.
The Cavs were playing their third game in four days at the end of a West Coast road swing and looked quite road weary in the first half, falling behind 59-41at the half. But to their credit, the young Cavs kept grinding away and worked their way back into the game, cutting the lead to three points at 82-79 midway through the fourth quarter.
But then Bryant reeled of five of his 42 points to keep the Cavs at bay and help the Lakers hold on for the win. Bryant had quite a night scoring his 42 points by making 15 of 31 field goals including four three-pointers and 8 of 10 free throws. The Laker legend's ailing wrist appears to be doing just fine considering this was his third 40-point game in a row as Los Angeles increased their current winning streak to five games.
Bryant had a little help along the way, as well. Forward Pau Gasol chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds while center Andrew Bynum added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cavs were led by rookie point guard Kyrie Irving who had another strong showing with 21 points and 4 assists. Anderson Varejao added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The four-game swing out west was part of a larger seven-game road trip the Cavs are playing through which ends on Monday afternoon at Charlotte.