Just two days after witnessing a smack down by the Lakers, the Conseco Fieldhouse witnessed a thrashing by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Indiana Pacers. But unlike the last game, this one was all about bricks. The Pacers shot 33.7% from the field and 24% from beyond the arc, compared to 46.4% shooting and 31.8% from beyond the arc for the Cavs. So Shaq and LeBron did what all the Pacers fans feared they would do...get into the paint and force the Pacers to foul them.
The first quarter was an absolute domination. The Cavs outscored the Pacers 36 to 18. They got complacent in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, giving the ball to LeBron and making him create all the plays. But Danny Granger and the Pacers could never solve Cleveland's defense and the Cavs held a double digit lead for the entire second half. The Pacers eventually succumbed in the 4th, scoring just 9 points and losing 94 to a mere 73. The game was so easy for the Cavs that Darnell Jackson, Danny Green, and Cedric Jackson checked in with three minutes left in regulation.
LeBron James: 6-18, 10-17 FT shooting, 9 rebounds, 13 assists, 4 blocks. In the third quarter, the Pacers were getting quite a few wide open looks, but LeBron made several crowd-swooning swats and steals to keep the Pacers from coming back. He was much more of a defensive presence in the second half.
Shaquille O'Neal: 8-10, 6-12 FT shooting, 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks. All the beleaguered Pacers could do was foul Shaq. Roy Hibbert was no match for him.
Anthony Parker: 2-9, 2-7 three point shooting, 6 points, 8 rebounds, +12 +/-. Remember 2009, when Parker was one of the best 3 point shooters in the NBA?
Jawad Williams: 3-3 three point shooting, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 24 minutes. Jawad's quietly making a case as legitimate option as a starting forward.
JJ Hickson: 3-5, 6 points, 8 rebounds, 22 minutes. One of his better road games, I think.
The Cavs will play the Clippers next, who have struggled as much as you can imagine against the NBA's worst teams. I'm sure they can't see playing the Cavs as a step down.