James scored 14 of his 41 points in the final period, and the Cavaliers beat the short-handed Lakers 98-95 Sunday for their 12th win in 15 games.Bryant scored nine of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, and also had 12 rebounds and six assists, but it wouldn't be enough to keep the Lakers from losing their third straight to match their longest losing streak of the season.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 6:14 to play, and Larry Hughes also scored 16 points for the Cavaliers (24-19), who have beaten the Lakers in their last five meetings.
Lamar Odom had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers (27-15), who have a 2-4 record since center Andrew Bynum injured his left knee. It was their fourth game without Trevor Ariza, who broke his right foot. Neither player is expected to return before the middle of March.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao was helped from the court late in the third quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday with an injured left ankle.
X-rays were negative, but he will undergo an MRI on Monday.
Right after teammate LeBron James made a layup, Varejao stepped on the foot of Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic as he entered the lane, trailing the play. Varejao was helped from the court, unable to put weight on his left leg.
Varejao, averaging 8.0 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds, had two points and four rebounds in 17 minutes when he was injured, with 3:12 left in the third period and the Cavaliers leading 63-59.The game was delayed for 12 minutes late in the first quarter because of a small leak in the Staples Center roof. It resulted in a steady flow of drops falling under the north basket -- out of bounds but less than a foot from the baseline. Arena spokesman Michael Roth said a roofing company inspected the roof Sunday morning and when the inspectors were finished, they removed their rain gear and left it along with some equipment on a catwalk over the north basket. The leak came from the clothing and equipment through slats in the catwalk.
The Cavaliers took a 94-93 lead on a basket by James with 1:16 remaining, and Bryant drew an offensive foul nine seconds later. After an empty possession by each team, James ran the shot clock down before hitting from outside with 20 seconds to go, giving the Cavaliers a three-point lead. Ronny Turiaf made a follow shot with 13 seconds left, trimming Cleveland's lead to one point, but James made two free throws four seconds later to make it 98-95. The Lakers called a timeout, but were unable to get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer before the final buzzer sounded.