Cavs vs. Magic, Game 54
at Quicken Loans Arena
WHAT HAPPENED: Cavs center Shaquille O'Neal couldn't stay on the court. He played a little under 20 minutes. He had 10 points, six rebounds and one block.
Of his five personal fouls, only two of them were against Magic center Dwight Howard. That, my friends, is a tactical mistake.
O'Neal is on the team, largely, to counter the 6-11, 275-pound Howard. He can't be picking up ticky-tack fouls trying to guard the pick-and-roll.
There are only a few men on the planet who can guard Howard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-NBA center. The 7-1, 325-pound O'Neal is one of them.
Howard ended with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
The Cavs are now 2-0 vs. the Magic this season. They also beat them in Orlando on Nov. 11, 102-93.
The Magic are a strong team, probably the second best team in the East. They could once again face the Cavs in the East finals. The Cavs are hoping for a better outcome this time.
NOTES -- O'Neal was the first overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Magic. He helped them get to the NBA Finals before going to the Lakers.
-- The Cavs are an NBA-best 24-3 at The Q.
-- The Cavs have won 13 in a row, as well as 28 of their last 32.
-- Forward J.J. Hickson scored 13 of his 20 points in the first quarter.
-- The Cavs got 35 points off the bench, including 16 by Anderson Varejao.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
SF LeBron James vs. Matt Barnes
PF J.J Hickson vs. Rashard Lewis
C Shaquille O'Neal vs. Dwight Howard
SG Anthony Parker vs. Vince Carter
PG Daniel Gibson vs. Jameer Nelson
Cavs - G Mo Williams (sprained left shoulder), F Leon Powe (left knee surgery), G Cedric Jackson.
Magic - C Adonal Foyle.
Eddie F. Rush, Mike Callahan, Eric Lewis