dwight howard

Dwight Howard arrived at Staples Center expecting to sit out another game to rest his injured shoulder. He ended up helping the Los Angeles Lakers out of their longest losing streak in nearly six years, which made that shoulder feel a whole lot better.

Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a three-game absence, and the Lakers snapped their six-game losing streak with a 113-93 victory over the

Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

”When we play like this, we win, and we win big,” Howard said. ”We’ve just got to continue to learn from games like that, and hopefully we can just string together some wins.”

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, who finally earned their first victory of 2013 while ending their longest skid since February 2007. Howard went 9 for 11 despite his torn labrum while leading Los Angeles to a comfortable victory over the lowly Cavaliers, who beat the Lakers last month.

Steve Nash said the win was ”mandatory” for the Lakers, and they played with an appropriate effort. Nash had 10 points and nine assists for the Lakers, whose skid has been severe enough to cause fans to worry about this star-packed roster’s playoff chances even in mid-January…

Irving and Dion Waiters scored 15 points apiece for Cleveland, which has lost seven of nine. Alonzo Gee added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who fell behind by 19 points in the first quarter of their second stop on a five-game West Coast road trip…

Nash hit three free throws, improving to 18 for 18 this season and increasing his minuscule lead on Mark Price for the best free throw percentage in NBA history. … Cleveland continues its road trip in Sacramento on Monday night against the Kings, who have lost four straight. … The Lakers won despite 22 turnovers, including 18 by their starting lineup.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press