Sasha Pavlovic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, picking up the slack for LeBron James, and the Cleveland Cavaliers shut down Kobe Bryant in the final minutes for a 99-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Pavlovic, suddenly a major cog in Cleveland’s offense, finished with 21 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas 17 and Anderson Varejao 12 – 11 in the fourth – as the Cavaliers improved to 20-7 at home with their second straight solid effort.
James had 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists, but he deferred to Pavlovic and others down the stretch, and Cleveland’s supporting cast came through. James was outscored 25-7 by Bryant in the second half, but the All-Star forward got to crown the Cavs’ win with a soaring dunk in the final seconds.
Bryant scored 36 points to lead the Lakers, who went 3-5 on an eight-game swing through the bitterly cold East. Bryant scored Los Angeles’ first 14 points in the final period, but with Larry Hughes guarding him, he didn’t score again in the final 3:39 after making two free throws to tie it 81-all.
Vladimir Radmanovic scored 12 points and Lamar Odom 11 for the Lakers, whose bench was outscored 46-15.