One of my best Christmas presents this year was the last one. I asked Santa for a Cavaliers victory and he delivered. Although I think I would have to credit Mo Williams, LeBron James and the three big guys; Zydrunas Illgaukus, Shaquille O’Neal and Anderson Varejao with the win tonight. Sorry Santa. Every Cavs fan has been waiting for this matchup since getting beat by the Lakers in both meetings last season. Apparently those losses were still fresh in the minds of the Cavaliers as well as they shot a phenomenal 54% from the field.
Mo Williams was the team’s leading scorer with 28 points. This is the third straight game that Mo has scored 24 or more points, proving that he is worthy of an all star nod. LeBron James added 26 points and did well with his matchup of Ron Artest, who had 13 points and 7 boards but fouled out with 5:01 left in the game. The big 3 of the Cavaliers did well too holding Lakers big men Andrew Bynum and Pao Gasol to 15 points combined.
The story of the night, in my opinion, would have to be the 31 points the Cavaliers received from their bench. Jamario Moon played hard with 13 points and 1 key steal that heated Lakers star Kobe Bryant resulting in one of the many technical fouls of the night for the Lakers. Two more technical fouls would be recorded at the expense of Lakers own Lamar Odom who dominated the Cavaliers in their second matchup last season. Odom was then, by rule, ejected from the game and the Lakers received another technical foul for failing to produce a substitute for Odom quickly.
It was clear that the Lakers were upset with the officiating of the evening, but they weren’t the only ones in attendance that were upset. Lakers fans took to throwing their foam fingers they received at the gate onto the floor. One unruly fan threw a full bottle of water onto the floor at one point too. Sound familiar Browns fans? Phil Jackson chimed in after the game:
“I’ve never seen an L.A. crowd react like this before. I like their enthusiasm. I don’t like their demonstrative manner… It wasn’t a well-refereed game; it wasn’t a very well-played game, so I think it was a reaction to that.”
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 35 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists with Artest being the second leading scorer. The Cavaliers wrapped up their road trip going 3-1 and winners of the last 8 of 9.