Irving leads balanced Cavs to victory over Lakers

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[March 11, 2016]  (The Sports Xchange) - Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and handed out nine assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers coasted past the Los Angeles Lakers 120-108 at Staples Center on Thursday.

LeBron James added 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Cavaliers (46-18) captured their fifth win in six games and remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

James tied Kevin Johnson for 19th on the NBA's all-time assists list with 6,711.

Cleveland's Channing Frye collected 21 points and seven rebounds, converting five-of-seven three-pointers and eight-of-10 shots from the floor.

All five Cavs starters scored in double figures, including J.R. Smith, who finished with 17 points, and Tristan Thompson, who contributed 10 points and 14 rebounds. Reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points.

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting, hitting three of four three-pointers, to lead the Lakers, who failed in their attempt to win three in a row for only the second time this season.

Lakers rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell had 24 points, and forward Julius Randle chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds. Marcelo Huertas came off the bench to score 13 points and record five assists.

The Lakers (14-52) have dropped four straight to the Cavs.

Cleveland used its long-distance shooting to beat Los Angeles, making 16-of-35 three-pointers (45.7 percent) to seven of 22 (31.8 percent) for the Lakers. Overall, the Cavs shot 52.9 percent from the floor to 52.5 percent for the Lakers.

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Ten three-pointers (on 19 attempts) by the Cavaliers in the first half staked the visitors to a 64-55 halftime lead. Frye connected on four-of-five treys and scored 16 points by the break to lead all scorers.

The Lakers sank just three-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

The two teams resume play on Sunday as part of a double-header at Staples Center. The Cavaliers face the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener, while the Lakers play the New York Knicks in the nightcap.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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