Today’s Forecast at Amway Arena: Cloudy with a chance of RAINDROPS!
In the first head-to-head matchup between the Cavaliers and Magic since last year’s disappointing Eastern Conference Championship, the Cavaliers came out firing on all cylinders.
The Cavs immediately ran their offense through prized free agent acquisition Shaquille O’Neal and sent his protege, Dwight Howard, to the bench early with foul trouble. King James and Company took over from there. On their way to a 66 point performance through 30 minutes, the Wine and Gold shot 57.5% from the field and led by 15 at the midway point. Mo Williams had the hot hand in the first half of basketball, connecting on all nine of his attempts from the field (four of which came from downtown).
Cleveland continued to dominate the game throughout the second half and found themselves leading 102-93 when the final horn sounded. LeBron James finished the game with 36 points and 8 rebounds while his sweet shooting counterpart, Mo Williams, contributed a season-high 28 points on 4 of 5 from beyond the arc to go with 6 assists.
In the Conference Finals last season, the Cavs’ weakness was exposed by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Cleveland GM Danny Ferry addressed the issue by picking up the Big Witness Protection from Phoenix on Draft Day and, tonight, the move played dividends. While guarding each other, Shaquille O’Neal posted 10 points on 3 of 3 from the field and was fouled on five separate occassions. Howard, however, managed only one point on 0 of 2 shooting.
Tonight’s game didn’t erase a disappointing end to last season but it was a confidence building victory for a team that has struggled to start the season. Cleveland will tipoff in Miami at 8 pm tomorrow night against Dwayne Wade and the Heat.