Looking nothing like two-time defending NBA champions, the Lakers dropped their third straight game, a stunning 104-99 loss on Wednesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers — the league’s worst team, which avenged a 55-point embarrassment against Los Angeles last month.
Ramon Sessions came off the bench and scored a season-high 32 points for the Cavs, who were beaten 112-57 by the Lakers on Jan. 11. That loss was No. 11 in a league-record streak that eventually reached 26 before Cleveland ended it last week with an overtime win against LA’s less-heralded squad, the Clippers.
Pau Gasol had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers.
CELTICS 94, NETS 80
In Boston, Paul Pierce bounced back from one of the worst games of his career with 31 points to help Boston head into the All-Star break with the best record in the East.
Pierce, who was 0-for-10 and had one point in Sunday’s victory over Miami, scored seven points during a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter as the Celtics turned a one-point deficit into a blowout.
HEAT 103, RAPTORS 95
In Toronto, Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and LeBron James had 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for Miami.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points in his first game in Toronto against his former team, which lost for the 17th time in 19 games.
Andrea Bargnani scored 17 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and DeMar DeRozan finished with 24, but the Raptors never led after the first six minutes of the game.
MAVERICKS 116, KINGS 100
In Dallas, Jason Kidd scored 17 points in the third quarter and Rodrigue Beaubois lived up to high expectations for his season debut with 13 points and six assists for Dallas.
Jermaine Taylor had 17 points as Sacramento lost its seventh in eight games.
MAGIC 101, WIZARDS 76
In Orlando, Florida, Dwight Howard had 32 points and 10 rebounds for his 45th double-double of the season as Orlando won its fourth in five games.
Jason Richardson added 16 points and Ryan Anderson chipped in 14 for Orlando.
John Wall scored 27 points and Andray Blatche had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards.
KNICKS 102, HAWKS 90
In New York, Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points to lead New York into the All-Star break with a winning record.
Wilson Chandler added 20 points and Danilo Gallinari had 17 for the Knicks, who at 28-26 matched their average victory total for the last five full seasons.
Marvin Williams scored 17 points for the Hawks, who lost for the third time in four games.
CLIPPERS 98, TIMBERWOLVES 90
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Blake Griffin stole the show in a matchup of All-Star power forwards with 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead Los Angeles past Minnesota.
Former Timberwolves player Randy Foye scored 21 points and Ryan Gomes added 18 to help the Clippers to just their second win on an eight-game road trip.
All-Star Kevin Love had 18 points and 18 rebounds for his 42nd double-double in a row.
In other games it was:
‧ Pistons 115, Pacers 109, OT
‧ 76ers 114, Rockets 105