HOUSTON, TX (Sporting Alert) — A late turnover by LeBron James helped San Antonio beat Cleveland, while Wesley Johnson, Nick Young and Kobe Bryant hit late free throws and the Lakers win at the Rockets Wednesday night.
At the Toyota Center in Houston, Bryant scored 29 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds, while Jordan Hill and Young each added 16 points and the Los Angeles Lakers earned a battling 98-92 victory over the Houston Rockets. Hill also pulled down 10 boards in the win.
The victory saw the LA Lakers (3-9) picking up back-to-back wins for the first time this season, after making a depressing 1-9 start on the term.
“Look, we had a bad start,” Bryant told reporters after the win. “Are we a 3-9 team?
“No. We’re a much better team than that. We got off to a really bad start, but we’ll (get better).”
James Harden led the Rockets (9-3) with 24 points and seven assists, with Kostas Papanikolaou adding a season-high 19 points to go with six rebounds off the bench in the defeat.
Patrick Beverley scored 15 points and Trevor Ariza collected 13 points and seven boards for Houston, who were without All-Star center Dwight Howard, who withdrew from the contest late because of a strained right knee.
Carlos Boozer finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds and Ed Davis ended with 11 valuable rebounds to go with his six points for Los Angeles, who will stay in Texas to play the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
JAMES TURNS IT OVER, CAVS LOSE TO SPURS
Meanwhile, at the Quicken Loans Arena, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were beaten 92-90 by defending champions San Antonio Spurs.
With the ball in his hand coming out of a timeout and his team down by two points, James lost the ball to Tim Duncan with 0:01 second left after he tried to dribble behind his back.
The four-time MVP immediately held his hand up and took the responsibility for the error as he and his Cavs teammates walked off the court.
“I went behind my back and just lost it,” James said after the game. “That’s how the ball rolls sometimes.”
James finished the game with 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds, but also had five turnovers in the defeat.
The Spurs (7-4) were led by Duncan, who scored 19 points, 10 rebounds three assists, two steals and two blocks and Boris Diaw, who grabbed scored 19 points, seven assists, six boards and three steals.
“The Cavs, what you see now, you can multiply by two or three,” San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said.
“They’re going to be one hell of a team. It’s a new system, new bodies.
“It doesn’t happen quickly. I’m glad we’re playing them now. They’re going to be a whole lot tougher later on in the year.”
Anderson Varejao scored 23 points and actively grabbed 11 rebounds and two blocks, with Kyrie Irving adding 20 points and Kevin Love supporting with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Cavs (5-5).
“We’ve got to continue to play, continue to watch film, continue to go over situations, continue to be in situations and you learn from it,” James noted.
“I think we learned from the game Monday and we came with a defensive mindset that we haven’t had this year against a very, very good team — a great team.”
In other NBA scores on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Orlando Magic, 114-90, Boston Celtics handed the Philadelphia 76ers its 11th consecutive defeat of the season with a 101-90 results, Dallas Mavericks topped the Washington Wizards, 105-102, the New York Knicks fell 115-99 to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks had a 122-118 triple overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
NBA SCORES, RECORDS AND RESULTS
Dallas Mavericks 105 (9-3), Washington Wizards 102 (7-3)
Toronto Raptors 96 (9-2), Memphis Grizzlies 92 (10-2)
Los Angeles Lakers 98 (3-9), Houston Rockets 92 (9-3)
San Antonio Spurs 92 (7-4), Cleveland Cavaliers 90 (5-5)
Milwaukee Bucks 122 (7-5), Brooklyn Nets 118 (4-7) 3OT
Phoenix Suns 88 (7-5), Detroit Pistons 86 (3-9)
Los Angeles Clippers 114 (6-4), Orlando Magic 90 (5-8)
Indiana Pacers 88 (5-7), Charlotte Hornets 86 (4-8)
Boston Celtics 101 (4-6), Philadelphia 76ers 90 (0-11)
Minnesota Timberwolves 115 (3-7), New York Knicks 99 (3-10)
Denver Nuggets 107 (4-7), Oklahoma City Thunders 100 (3-10)