The Los Angeles Lakers winning streak came to an end Thursday night, but magic was still in a 120-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kobe Bryant put on one of his best performances of the season with LeBron James guarding him most of the night, hitting turnaround jumper after turnaround jumper over the top of the Cavaliers' defense. It may not have been on the stage so many wanted, but it was one of the rare occasions that a Kobe-LeBron game genuinely felt electric.
James held up his end as well, soaring through the air in Staples Center. It was Kobe's footwork and mastery against LeBron's sheer athleticism that had the crowd oo'ing and ah'ing throughout the night, and it was a night to remember from the generational talents. Kobe ended the night with 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting. LeBron had 24 on 9-of-18.
D'Angelo Russell had another solid night scoring at least 20 points for the seventh game in eight outings. Russell finished with 24 points on an efficient 8-of-19 shooting, continuing his impressive post All-Star march. Both teams shot over 50 percent overall from the field, but the Cavaliers' three-point shooting built up a big cushion on their lead heading into the final quarter. Cleveland shot 45.7 percent from deep, with Channing Frye making five of his seven attempts from outside.
It was a Lakers loss but what we'll remember is the time shared on the court between Kobe and LeBron, and the throwback moments of a championship rivalry that never was. An enjoyable and great game from Kobe with so few left to soak in.