for this game

Odom, Lakers hand Cavs first home loss

Feb 9, 2009 - 5:34 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- For a team that was sick and tired, the Los Angeles Lakers had enough in the tank to send a clear message to rest of the league.

Lamar Odom recorded season highs with 28 points and 17 rebounds as the red-hot Lakers handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their first home loss of the season, 101-91, on Sunday in a clash featuring two of the NBA's best teams and players.

"We're playing for perfection," Odom said simply.

Battling the flu, Kobe Bryant scored 19 points for the Lakers, who went undefeated on their six-game road trip. They finished the jaunt with two signature wins.

Sunday's triumph came just three days after Los Angeles held off the rival Boston Celtics, 110-109, in overtime.

"Hopefully, we'll keep this up," Lakers center Pau Gasol said. "It's nice, a good statement for us."

The Lakers have made a habit of snapping significant streaks after ending the Celtics' 12-game string in the aforementioned contest. They also ended Boston's franchise-record, 19-game streak on Christmas Day.

LeBron James had 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists but shot just 5-of-20 from the field for Cleveland, which had won its first 23 games at Quicken Loans Arena this season - the fifth-longest run in NBA history.

In fact, the Cavaliers trailed in the final period at home for just the fourth time this season.

They were behind thanks to some yeoman's work in the third by Odom, who collected 15 points and 10 rebounds in the period. Los Angeles outscored Cleveland, 29-16, in the quarter.

"Lamar impacted the game on both ends of the floor, especially with his ability to offensive rebound and his ability to slash," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "His athleticism, his length, his skills - he was a handful for us tonight, especially on the backside as the game went along in the third quarter."

Bryant, who spent intermission throwing up in the locker room, took an extended rest at the start of the fourth. He stepped on the floor for the first time in the final period at the 5:43 mark and did not score until there was 2:48 remaining.

"He had chills at halftime and was struggling," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant. "But he said he was going to go out there anyway and play. He was definitely not himself today."

"It was the ultimate form of leadership on his part," Los Angeles guard Derek Fisher said. "He laid what he had out there. He's probably going to pay for it for a couple of days. He saved as much as he could for the later stages of the game."

That bucket was a critical one as Bryant - with the raucous crowd cheering on the home team - took James into the post, faked left and dropped in a fadeaway that seemed destined to scrape the arena's ceiling.

Other than framing perhaps the league's two best players in the same play, Bryant's shot was the first basket in an 8-0 run that gave Los Angeles a 100-89 lead that it would not relinquish.

Cleveland, which had its four-game overall winning streak snapped, led by 10 points at halftime but let it slip away in the third, when it saw the Lakers go on a 22-8 run. Thanks to the spurt, Los Angeles took a 73-69 lead - its first advantage since late in the first quarter.

"They lead the league in points in the paint," James said. "Their offense is run through the elbows, so they get a lot of points in the paint."

Mo Williams scored 19 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 16 off the bench for the Cavs, who lost both games to the Lakers this season.

"We have to be healthy," said James, who alluded to an injury to Delonte West. "We haven't been healthy both times we played them."