The Los Angeles Lakers snapped a six-game losing streak on Sunday and will now try to build actual momentum when they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
The Lakers trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-93, at home. Balance was the key for L.A. as six Lakers scored in double figures, led by the NBA's leading scorer, Kobe Bryant, who had 23.
Dwight Howard returned on Sunday after a three-game absence with a shoulder injury and played awfully well. Howard scored 22 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. He did commit seven turnovers, but the big man got through it pain- free.
"It felt good," Howard said. "I was happy to be back on the floor, and happy we got a win."
Howard's fellow big man, Pau Gasol, will not be back. He has been ruled out for Tuesday night, his fifth straight missed game with a concussion.
"We're being extra cautious to make sure he's OK," coach Mike D'Antoni said.
The Lakers seemed to have things figured out with five straight wins, culminating in a great victory Christmas Day against the New York Knicks. Since the win, the Lakers have gone 2-7.
The Bucks have been playing well after their coaching change. Since Scott Skiles left and Jim Boylan took over, the Bucks are 3-1 and this is the second of four straight on the road.
The Bucks kick-started the trip with a comeback victory Sunday in Toronto against the Raptors. The game was pretty crazy to say the least as the Raptors won the first quarter, 34-16, then the Bucks came back with a 31-15 second stanza.
Milwaukee won the last quarter by 15 to post a 107-96 win.
Brandon Jennings led the way with 19 points and 10 assists en route to being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. John Henson also had 19 and Monta Ellis chipped in 17 points.
"We came out sluggish and fell behind, but we have a great group of guys off the bench that can help us," Boylan said.
Boylan's different approach may have helped the Bucks, but so has Jennings' spectacular week. He averaged 24.5 ppg, 6.5 apg and shot 47.7 percent from the field.
That was the second time Jennings won the award and Monta Ellis also took home the honor in late December. The Bucks tied the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder for most wins with three.
The Bucks have won two straight in this series with the Lakers after having lost six straight. Milwaukee is 3-16 in its last 19 at the Lakers.