Kyrie Irving scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the host Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who dropped to a new low last night in a tumultuous season.

Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes as the Cavs ended a five-game losing streak.

Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard had 19 points and 20 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to stop the Lakers from losing for the eighth time in 11 games and to a Cleveland team that came in with only four wins. C.J. Miles scored 28 in his first start this season for the Cavs.

Los Angeles was without starting forward Pau Gasol, who missed his fifth straight game with knee tendinitis.

The Lakers fell behind by 16 points in the third quarter, and despite Bryant's attempt to rescue them, the Lakers opened a four-game road trip with a loss that could sting for a while.

Earlier, Magic Johnson questioned D'Antoni's system with the Lakers, saying "it doesn't fit the talent the Lakers have."

"I'm not down on him yet as a coach," Johnson said earlier in the day at a Dodger Stadium appearance, although he criticized D'Antoni's plan to make the Lakers into a running team. "You can't run with these guys. There's one guy who can get up and down the court and that's Kobe. You've got to take that ball inside. That's how you win games."

Nuggets 101, Pistons 94: Ty Lawson had 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds for visiting Denver, which trailed by as many as 17 in the first quarter.

Wizards 77, Hornets 70: Jordan Crawford scored 26 points for visiting Washington. The game befitted the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference (Washington) and the team with the worst in the West (New Orleans) as both teams shot less than 33 percent for the game.

-- AP

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