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News » Road Show

Road Show

Road ShowTwo hours before the game, there were thousands of eager NBA fans standing outside the North Charleston Coliseum.

Donning mostly Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys with a few Charlotte Bobcats uniforms thrown in for good measure, they lined up five and six deep just to get a glimpse of their NBA heroes - especially Cleveland's LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

Afterward, ball boys waited patiently with their basketballs, photos and hats at the ready when LeBron and Shaq came out of the locker room.

For the record, Cleveland defeated Charlotte, 101-96, for the second time in less than a week in an NBA exhibition game before a sellout crowd of 11,489 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Cleveland forward J.J. Hickson scored 15 points to lead six players in double figures for the Cavaliers, while Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats with 18 points and Aleix Ajinca had 15 points and seven rebounds.

But to be honest few cared about the final outcome of the game.

Everyone came to see NBA with an emphasis on LeBron and Shaq. And for the most part, few left disappointed.

James and O'Neal were combined for 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds as both played large portions of the first half. O'Neal made a brief appearance in the second half, while James was done at halftime.

"I play an exhibition game like it's a regular season or a playoff game," said James, who had 11 points and five assists in 17 minutes of action. "I try to go in with the same mindset to get better and for us to get better as a team. I'm working on every aspect of my game. I know I'm not going to play that long, so when I'm out there I go as hard as I can."

With flashbulbs going off every time James stepped on the court, he delighted the crowd midway through the second quarter when he shrugged off a Bobcats defender, drove the basket, and slammed it home to give the Cavaliers a 28-27 lead.

"They've got a good team," said Charlotte point guard Raymond Felton. "Shaq gives them another dimension and LeBron is LeBron."

The Cavaliers acquired O'Neal in a trade during the offseason in hopes of bringing Cleveland its first NBA title.

The early returns for the Cavaliers have been almost better than expected, although James said the two are still working on their on-court chemistry.

"This is only our second preseason and we've got six more," James said. "We're going to continue to do what we need to do. We've still got some things to iron out on the offensive end.

"We've turned the ball over a couple of times because we don't know the sets. I'm confident we'll continue to learn that and we'll get better."

James has been in the league for six years and is still getting used to having around O'Neal all the time.

"The guy is huge," James said. "Until you're around him every day you don't realize how big he is. I swear he gets bigger and bigger every day. Playing against him a couple of times a year you kind of forget how big he really is."

O'Neal was able to take a brief tour of the city Friday night.

"I didn't realize that Charleston was as beautiful as it was," O'Neal said. "I got to go downtown. This is a nice city, I'll be back."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 13, 2009


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