CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who dropped to a new low Tuesday night in a tumultuous season.
Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes and showed off his dizzying array of moves 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, and point guard Steve Nash, still sidelined with a broken leg.
The Lakers fell behind by 16 points in the third quarter, and despite Bryant's valiant attempt to rescue them, the Lakers opened a four-game road trip with a loss that could sting for a while.
As the final seconds ticked off, Bryant stood at halfcourt, his right hand resting on his hip, a look of disgust on his face. When the horn sounded, he handed the ball to an official and shared a brief hug with Irving and a long one with Cavs coach Byron Scott, who whispered something in the superstar's ears.
The Lakers have nowhere to go but up.
Before the game, coach Mike D'Antoni, who was brought in to fix the underachieving squad of stars after Mike Brown was fired five games into the season, bemoaned his team's defense and said the Lakers seemed to be missing a "spirit" to win.
That might not be all they're without.
Howard, who attempted 22 free throws, scored inside to get the Lakers within 86-82, but Irving answered with a 3-pointer. Metta World Peace hit a 3 to bring Los Angeles within 89-85, but on Cleveland's next possession, the Lakers lost track of Cavs center Anderson Varejao, who scored an uncontested layup as all five Los Angeles players watched.
Bryant hit a 3-pointer to trim Cleveland's lead to 95-92 with 28 seconds left, but he missed another 3-point attempt on the Lakers' next trip and there was nothing he or anyone else in purple and gold could do from there.
The Cavs went 2-9 without Irving, their sensational 20-year-old. But with him on the floor, Cleveland is a far different team and on this night better than the Lakers.
The Lakers were down by 15 at halftime after allowing the Cavaliers to push them around.
Cleveland went on a 14-2 run, highlighted by 3-pointers from Miles and Irving to open a 44-33 lead. After four points by Howard, Irving hit a bank shot and followed that by dribbling behind his back and nailing a step-back, 18-foot jumper to push Cleveland's lead to 11.