After beginning the 2009-10 campaign with back-to-back losses to Eastern Conference foes Boston and Toronto, critics began to claim the Cavaliers were overrated and Shaquille O’Neal was too old, too big, and too slow to play with the premier centers in the NBA.
The last two games, however, the Wine and Gold have began the game by going right to their dominate post presence and setting the tone. In Wednesday night’s matchup with Dwight Howard, it took O’Neal and the Cavs just over two minutes to force Superman into foul trouble. The Big Witness Protection nearly matched Howard point-for-point in the contest posting 10 points to Howard’s 11 and controlled the paint for much of the night against Orlando’s young superstar.
Thursday night’s contest against the Miami Heat played out in a similar fashion. Cleveland established their presence in the paint early in the game, going right to O’Neal on each of their first two possessions. The result: Four points on 2 of 2 from the field. He completed that contest with 14 points.
The addition of Shaq added an unfamiliar dimension to the Cavaliers game plan this season and, therefore, produced a share of hiccups in the early going. But the Cavaliers carry their three game win streak back into the Q for Saturday night’s contest against the Utah Jazz with their tanks running on Diesel.