LeBron James made an on-court statement in the early goings of the Cavaliers’ win over the Mavericks last night. That being, just give me a few games, I’ll get the Big Fella incorporated into the attack. Right after Shaq backed the ‘hair-patch-less’ Drew Gooden in for an easy two to start the game, Mo Williams found LeBron inside, who then found Shaquille O’Neal cutting from the free throw line, to the basket, for a thunderous two. Austin Carr found the play…exciting.
AC on the call:
“LeBron James catches Optimus Prime, and he throoowss the hammmmer down!”
Two things I thought there:
1. Optimus Prime, I like that one. Didn’t have it on our list of Shaq’s nicknames. Do now, that’s 31.
2. When Shaq gets a head of steam towards the basket…holy —-!
Minutes later, after a LeBron James fadeaway fell short, Shaq grabbed the board, and then hit James in stride cutting from the top of the key, who banged home a thunderous slam of his own. To which AC responded:
“And Shaq returns the favvoorrr to the Kiinngg, and the throoowsss the hammmer down!”
We would have had one more comment from Carr on this subject if Jeff Phelps wasn’t giving an in-game update on Zydrunas Ilgauskas coming out of a timeout later in the quarter. Right out of that stoppage of play, LBJ threw another lob to Shaquille, who not so politely deposited it threw the iron for two.
LeBron’s line read 11-4-8 in the first quarter alone, and he finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 12 assists.
More on Shaq’s impact on the game…
Waiting for Next Year, Jacob:
“Coming into the game, the Cavs were only 6-4 in games played with Shaquille O’Neal and actually 5-1 without him, but this [last night's game] should be what this team is capable of this season…This is how the team was supposed to be playing when we acquired Shaquille O’Neal and Jamario Moon in the offseason…the Diesel had nine points and six rebounds while controlling the pace of the game and Moon finished with 13 points and nine boards.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Brian Windhorst:
“O’Neal wasn’t a monster — nine points and six rebounds — but his size forced Dallas into double teams and fouls, which all of his teammates benefited from. That was especially true in the fourth quarter, when he drew three fouls, got an assist and a basket in the first five minutes to set the table for the finish.”
The Cavaliers move to 12-5 on the season, and begin to prepare for the 13-3 Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.