The Cleveland Cavaliers made it a struggle - outscored by 10 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Fortunately the Cavaliers outscored the other team from Los Angeles by 35 in the 1st and 4th quarters.
Spurred on by 23 points by LeBron James in the 1st Quarter, and a team record-tying 46 points, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 30-point lead, saw it dwindle to 11 in the 4th quarter, before pulling away to win by 25. James finished with 32 points and 11 assists.
Shaquille O'Neal was solid once again, finishing with a double-double(16 points, 12 rebounds), his 6th of the season. I have to give credit where credit is due. Since Mo and Delonte went down, Shaq has been a monster, giving fans a sneak-preview of what we can expect during the Playoffs. The guy can still dominate, he can still get it done.
Daniel Gibson was solid once again as well - 14 points, 6 assists, 3 turnovers. Gibson is getting more and more comfortable playing the point. This experience is going to prove invaluable come playoffs time, giving Mike Brown a number of floor-combinations.
Jawad Williams and Anderson Varejao finished in double figures(12 and 11 respectively) as well.
For the Clippers, if it wasn't for Baron Davis this game could have gotten really ugly fast. Davis finished with 30 points and 7 assists = and still was a -26 for the game.
This type of game is the perfect scenario for Mike Brown. The Cavaliers won easily, but played poorly enough for large stretches to give Mike Brown plenty of practice fodder. During a lazy 3rd quarter, for instance, the Cavaliers were outscored 12-2 out of the locker room, 28-16 for the quarter. It has been a reoccurring theme for the Cavaliers, especially at home, since the Orlando Series last season. They have to clean that up, have to get the killer instinct to finish teams off.
TO his credit, Mike Brown said after the game that he listened to the team during the Clippers' run to see how they would react. "They said all the right things, led by LeBron, about what we needed to do to win the game".
The Cavaliers are now 18-5 against the Western Conference this season, 10-0 at The Q. The 38-11 record after 49 games is the 2nd best record at this time in Cavaliers history. In other words, this Cavaliers team is pretty damn good.
Next up, a revenge game on Tuesday night against Memphis.