Lakers hope they've reached rock bottom

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Lakers hope they've reached rock bottom

From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- There had to be a low point. The Los Angeles Lakers can only hope they've reached it.This chaotic season has gotten worse.Kyrie Irving scored 28 points in his return after missing 11 games with a broken finger, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-94 win over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, who look nothing like a team projected to win an NBA title -- or anything else."This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too," a puzzled Bryant said after the Lakers lost for the eighth time in 11 games. "We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we're not, and it's baffling. It's extremely frustrating."It doesn't make any sense. We're still finding ways to lose games."Irving added 11 assists in 39 minutes and showed off his dizzying array of moves as the Cavs, who came in with just four wins, ended a five-game losing streak.Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard had 19 points and 20 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to stop the Lakers, who were still missing Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, from opening a four-game road trip with a with a loss that could sting for a while."We have to stop the bleeding -- somehow," said Howard, who forced a trade this summer from Orlando to join the Lakers and maybe win some championships. "We can't let this kill our spirits too much. This is tough on all of us right now."We want to win. We're sick of losing. We all understand that situations like this don't last forever."C.J. Miles scored 28 in his first start this season, Anderson Varejao had 20 and Alonzo Gee 17 for the Cavs.Los Angeles fell behind by 16 points in the third quarter, and despite Bryant's valiant attempt to rescue them -- he scored 16 in the fourth quarter -- the Lakers dropped to 1-10 in games the superstar scores 30 or more points."We played very uninspired basketball, offensively and defensively," said coach Mike D'Antoni, brought in to repair an underachieving squad after Mike Brown was fired five games into the season. "We play at a very slow pace and we struggle. Maybe it shifts over to defense. Maybe we're slow. Maybe we can't do it. . It's my job to fix it -- and that's what I'll do."As the final seconds ticked off, Bryant stood at halfcourt, his right hand resting on his hip, a look of disgust on his face. When the horn sounded, he handed the ball to an official and shared a brief hug with Irving and a long one with Cavs coach Byron Scott, who whispered something in his ear.The Lakers have nowhere to go but up.Bryant refused to single out any teammates, and he chose his words carefully when pressed on his team's many problems."I'm very upset," Bryant said. "When things get hard, you should get more determined, not shake your heads. It just seems when it rains it pours. It's like this cloud is following us around at all times. I'm one of the fastest guys on the team -- and I'm like 50. What does that tell you?"Before the game, D'Antoni bemoaned his team's defense and said the Lakers seemed to be missing a "spirit" to win.Those aren't their only deficiencies.Howard scored inside to get the Lakers within 86-82, but Irving answered with a 3-pointer. Metta World Peace hit a 3 to bring Los Angeles within 89-85, but on Cleveland's next possession, the Lakers lost track of Cavs center Anderson Varejao, who scored an uncontested layup as all five Los Angeles players watched.Bryant hit a 3-pointer to trim Cleveland's lead to 95-92 with 28 seconds left, but he missed another 3-point attempt on the Lakers' next trip and there was nothing he or anyone else in purple and gold could do from there.Howard is confident the Lakers will be able to turn their season around.He just doesn't know when."We've got to stay focused and stay strong," he said. "We can't let this break who we are as a team. We talk about it every day. People are going to say whatever they want about our team right now. We're not playing the greatest basketball. But there will come a day when we'll have the gun. Right now, we're rabbits. Once we get the gun, it's not going to be fun for everybody else."The Cavs went 2-9 without Irving, their sensational 20-year-old. But with him on the floor, Cleveland is a far different team and on this night better than the Lakers.Cleveland was ahead by 12 when Irving tried to take Bryant on by himself.Dribbling the ball between his legs at the top of the key, Cleveland's star backed Bryant down in the lane as the crowd roared at a 1-on-1 matchup Irving proposed during the summer for charity. Irving tried a pump fake that didn't work and Bryant easily blocked his shot as if to say, "Not yet, kid.""It reminded me when Allen Iverson was going against Michael Jordan," Irving said. "The whole crowd sat up. I got my shot blocked, but it was still a memorable moment for me, seeing the crowd reaction. I was surprised by it."Scott wasn't shocked that Irving would play so well."He's likes being put in the position of having to deliver," Scott said. "He's just a special young man. He loves the competition."NOTES:Bryant didn't know if Irving was "confident or crazy" when Irving challenged him to a 1-on-1 game during U.S. Olympic team practices. Irving didn't back down when Bryant unleashed some heavy trash talk on the 20-year-old. "I'm the best trash talker alive," Bryant said. "He tried to keep up. Hopefully, you'll see a little more of that (trash talk) from that generation, guys competing against each other. It was like that when I came into the league with Charles (Barkley) and Michael (Jordan) and (John) Stockton and (Clyde) Drexler and all those guys. That's how it was." ... Cavs G Daniel Gibson hyperextended his right elbow in the first half and didn't return. He expects to play Wednesday at Indiana.

Report: It's a four-year deal between Joakim Noah and the Knicks

Report: It's a four-year deal between Joakim Noah and the Knicks

It was made known before the clock struck midnight on NBA free agency that Joakim Noah was likely heading to New York, and Friday night, Noah reportedly agreed to a four-year deal with the Knicks.

ESPN reported Noah and the Knicks agreed to a four-year pact worth $72 million, quite the long-term commitment from Phil Jackson to a player who missed all but 29 games last season and has appeared in more than 67 games just once in the last seven seasons.

Noah heads to the Knicks to re-team with Derrick Rose, who the Bulls traded last week in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant.

Noah had a pair of recent All-Star seasons with the Bulls in 2012-13 and 2013-14, earning NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors and getting named to the All-NBA First Team in 2013-14, when he averaged a career-best 12.6 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game.

But injuries kept him off the court often during the past two seasons, with him missing 15 regular-season games in 2014-15 and only appearing in 29 contests (with just two starts) in Fred Hoiberg's first season in Chicago.

In nine seasons with the Bulls, Noah averaged 9.3 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Noah and Rose both depart the Bulls for the Knicks, where they figure to start alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.

Today on CSN: Sale, White Sox look to even series vs. Astros

Today on CSN: Sale, White Sox look to even series vs. Astros

Chris Sale and the White Sox square off against the Houston Astros today, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale  (13-2, 2.79) vs. Doug Fister (8-4, 3.36)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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Gomez, Fiers lead Astros over White Sox

Gomez, Fiers lead Astros over White Sox

HOUSTON (AP) Carlos Gomez hit a two-run homer and Mike Fiers and three relievers combined for a shutout to help the surging Houston Astros to a 5-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

It was Houston's fourth straight victory and 11th in the last 12 games.

Fiers (6-3) scattered four hits over six innings. Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson didn't allow a hit in an inning each and Chris Devenski threw a scoreless ninth.

The Astros didn't have a baserunner until Miguel Gonzalez (1-4) plunked George Springer to start the fourth inning. He then walked Luis Valbuena before Jose Altuve grounded into a double play that left Springer at third.

Houston's first hit came next when Carlos Correa's strange infield popup dropped in front of shortstop Tim Anderson and allowed Springer to score and make it 1-0.

Gomez padded the lead when he sent one into the seats in left field with one out in the seventh to make it 3-0. Correa reached on an error by third baseman Tyler Saladino before Gomez's shot.

Gomez has started heating up after a tough start to the season that included a May when he hit just .136. He has hit four homers, five doubles and driven in 15 runs since June 5 to boost his average from .182 to .225.

Gonzalez yielded three hits and two runs in a season-high seven innings.

Houston first baseman A.J. Reed got his first major league hit with a single with two outs in the fifth inning. He was 0 for 16 since being called up on Saturday before the hit.

Valbuena added an RBI double in the eighth and Colby Rasmus had a run-scoring single in that inning to make it 5-0.

ALTUVE'S STREAK ENDS

Altuve went 0 for 4 without a walk to end a streak where he reached safely in a career-high 32 straight games. The streak was the longest by an Astro since Lance Berkman did it in 37 straight games from July 30-Sept. 8, 2004.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: 3B Matt Davidson had surgery on Friday after breaking his right foot rounding first base in his White Sox debut a day before. Davidson had a screw inserted to repair his foot and the White Sox don't know how long he'll be out. They recalled INF Carlos Sanchez from Triple-A Charlotte before Friday's game to take his spot on the roster.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers, who was scratched from his last start on Tuesday with a blister on his right index finger, is doing better and is expected to make his next start on Monday.

UP NEXT

White Sox: Chris Sale (13-2, 2.79) is scheduled to pitch for Chicago on Saturday. Sale, who leads the majors with 13 wins, has a four-game winning streak. Sale is 4-1 with a 0.66 ERA and 56 strikeouts in five career starts against Houston.

Astros: Doug Fister (8-4, 3.36) will start for Houston on Saturday. Fister allowed eight hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings of a loss to the Royals on Sunday to snap a seven-game winning streak.