Lakers look to spoil possible Irving return

Updated: December 11, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers have given up at least 100 points in each of their last four losses. They have also scored that many in those defeats and hope to come out on top Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers will open a four-game road trip in the Forest City and have lost two straight, four of five and seven of their last 10 games. In Sunday’s 117-110 home loss to the Utah Jazz, Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 34 points and Jordan Hill added a career-high 17 points and nine boards.

Lakers big man Pau Gasol missed his fourth consecutive game due to knee tendinitis and is doubtful Tuesday. Dwight Howard added 11 and 16 boards for Los Angeles, which was outscored 54-34 in the paint. Utah had a 19-4 advantage on fastbreak points as well.

“We’re not very good right now,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They outran us, they had too many fastbreak points. There’s no excuse for giving up 117 points. You have to fight and we’re not doing it.”

Chris Duhon finished with 12 points and a season-high 11 assists. Point guard Steve Nash is still nursing a balky leg and is out indefinitely.

Bryant, the NBA’s leading scorer with 28.6 ppg, said afterward that the chemistry is fine with the team, but fastbreak points and defense has been the issue. Bryant missed a 3-pointer late in the game with the Lakers down by five and Jazz guard Mo Williams sealed the win with a pair of free throws.

L.A. will also visit New York, Washington and Philadelphia on the trip and is just 2-6 as the guest this season.

The Cavaliers own one of the worst records in the league at 4-17 and have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games.

Cleveland suffered a 104-97 loss to Detroit its last time out on Saturday as Jeremy Pargo registered 24 points and Anderson Varejao added 16 points and 13 boards. C.J. Miles and Tyler Zeller scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Cavaliers, who hit just 6-of-27 3-pointers and committed 14 turnovers, leading to 26 Pistons points.

“Offensively we just have to keep moving the ball a little better, be a little crisper with our passes and not turn the ball over as much,” Zeller said.

The Cavs have lost four in a row at Quicken Loans Arena and are 2-6 as the host this season. Reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving was cleared to resume practice and is expected to play Tuesday. Irving hasn’t played since Nov. 18 at Philadelphia because of a fractured left index finger and is averaging 22.9 ppg.

Cleveland hopes to have rookie guard Dion Waiters back as well Tuesday and he is questionable with a sprained left ankle. Waiters is ranked first in steals (1.2), second in points (15.2), second in minutes (32.0), third in assists (3.4) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.355, 33-93) among rookies.

Varejao has 15 double-doubles this season and had a streak of 10 in a row stopped with Friday’s 91-73 loss at Minnesota. Varejao has helped the Cavs grab at least 10 offensive rebounds in 15 straight games.

Pargo has taken advantage of his time as a starter and is averaging 14.5 ppg in 11 chances. Miles is averaging 12.7 ppg in his last three.

Cleveland lost its lone matchup with the Lakers last season, suffering a tough 97-92 loss at Staples Center. Bryant had 42 points in that one for Los Angeles, which has still dropped eight of the last 12 in this series.

The Lakers have lost six of their last seven at Cleveland.