Irving, out since Nov. 18 with a fractured left index finger, showed few signs of rust as the Cavaliers broke a five-game losing streak.
C.J. Miles also netted 28 points thanks in part to five 3-pointers while Anderson Varejao helped out with 20 points, nine boards and five assists for the victors.
The free-falling Lakers meanwhile fell for the eighth time in 11 games despite a 42-point performance from Kobe Bryant, who connected on 16-of-28 shots from the field.
Dwight Howard contributed 19 points and 20 rebounds in the loss.
Jordana Brewster on Paul Walker: 'He was an enormous presence in my life'
Gal Gadot cast as Wonder Woman for 'Batman vs. Superman'