Whenever the King Lebron James is playing a basketball game, just know that the game will be special. Add to that a mix of Shaquille O’Neal and the game now goes into the stratosphere. The Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers game of 2009 showed Shaq being Shaq. While dominating the boards, O’Neal scored a season high of 21 points with Lebron James bringing in another 27 points, as the Cavaliers won their third straight game, while beating the Wizards to a score of 102-90.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were behind by as much as 18 points in the second quarter, when their defense took over. Between bank shots, hooks, free throws and just dominating the boards, the Cavaliers all but took over the game. When the Cleveland offense was left contemplating on what to do, they simply got the ball in Shaq’s hands and let him go to work. The Wizards scored only thirty-six points in the second half and only fifty-nine total points in the last three-quarters of the game. The Cleveland Cavaliers team made nine 3 pointers throughout the entirety of the game Mo Williams scored 15 points and Daniel Gibson scored 14 points, all while the king was out of the game.
Lebron James commented after the final score, that having Shaq was “a big plus” for the rest of the Cav’s team and him. While the Cleveland Cavaliers were slow to integrate Shaq into their roster, they finally discovered what to do with the big man. And that is to just let him be Shaq and dominate the boards. The big mistake for the Washington Wizards was that they tried to guard the big man one on one due to his age of thirty-seven years. But Shaq with his massive 7-foot 1-inch frame, will always be Shaq and dominate when allowed.
The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to slow the game down while delivering to the big man. This forced Washington Wizards big men Levale McGhee, Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche to either pound the big man or back away. Needless to say, they decided to do the latter. And when Javale McGee did decide to go up against the big man, he received 4 fouls in less than 10 minutes. The game was won by the Cavaliers due to the production from the bench and the dominance of Shaq. This allowed Lebron James to only play 4 minutes in the fourth quarter. The Washington Wizards shot just thirty-three percent in the final 3 quarters and the 3 big men of Haywood, McGee and Blatche had twelve fouls total in the first half of the game.
While Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas each scored twenty-two points, the Washington Wizards had no answer for the dominance of Shaquille O’Neal. After the game, Shaq stated, “that he realized the Wizards were thinking of his age and he took it personally.”
With the King Lebron James, the dominance of Shaquille O’Neal and one of the greatest comebacks by the Cleveland Cavaliers to win 3 straight games, this was one for the ages and the history books. And one that the Washington Wizards won’t likely soon forget.