• My Scores
  • NFL
  • MLB
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • Golf

Cleveland at Charlotte

Bobcats defeat Cavs in Shaq's first game back from injury

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James and the Cavaliers were already struggling with their rhythm in Shaquille O'Neal's return from injury.

When Michael Jordan started giving Gerald Wallace pointers on how to play LeBron, Cleveland was doomed.

Listening intently to Jordan and attacking a foul-prone James, Wallace had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats took advantage of the disjointed Cavaliers in a 94-87 victory on Friday night.

The surprising Bobcats won their third straight game following a seven-game losing streak behind Wallace, who beat James in numerous 1-on-1 matchups in the post -- at the urging of the Bobcats managing partner sitting courtside.

"He's rooting, but he also has his suggestions on how we should play," Wallace said of Jordan. "He's just like any other fan. He just happens to be Michael Jordan -- and he's also the boss."

James scored 25 points, but Cleveland had its three-game winning streak snapped just as O'Neal returned after missing six games with a strained left shoulder.

O'Neal recovered after missing five of his first seven shots to finish with 11 points and eight rebounds. But with a slowed-down offense without a flow, Cleveland fell to 6-4 when he plays and 5-1 when he's sidelined.

"While he was out, things just flowed because we were playing loose," James said. "We had enough time where we had a certain lineup going. I don't think we've had enough games with him in the lineup."

Shaq was on the floor for much of the fourth quarter, when Cleveland cut a 24-point, third-quarter deficit to seven. But even with the Bobcats going the final nine minutes without a field goal, the Cavaliers only outscored Charlotte 16-12 in the fourth.

Coach Mike Brown said before the game he wanted to limit O'Neal to about 25 minutes. O'Neal played 29, hitting 5 of 11 shots and 1 of 3 free throws.

While there's nearly five months before the playoffs start, Shaq's offseason acquisition isn't panning out yet.

"I felt pretty good," O'Neal said. "I missed a couple of chippies that I usually don't like to miss. But, overall, we made a lost of silly mistakes."

Stephen Jackson added 17 points for Charlotte. Nazr Mohammed had 13 points and six rebounds, and was O'Neal's main defender as the Bobcats improved to 6-2 at home.

Mo Williams added 22 points for the Cavaliers, who had beaten Charlotte seven straight times.

Wallace had the better of James for much of the third quarter, hitting three 3-pointers and often scoring over James in the post. Wallace's 3 with 7:42 left put Charlotte ahead 74-50.

"I mean Gerald was shooting like 14 percent from the 3-point line coming into the game," James said. "We doubled up the right guy and he knocked two of them down. It really hurt us."

Jordan was urging Wallace to post up James after he picked up three fouls in the first half. Wallace scored over James from the left block to make it 80-61.

"It's not so much as an edge posting him up. It's the situation he was put in," Wallace said. "I think he had three, four fouls, so he's going to be a little tentative then. It's time to go at him and be aggressive. I think we did a great job of attacking him."

James soon raised the intensity. He hit two quick 3s in a 19-5 run that cut the lead to 11 entering the fourth. But the Cavaliers had dug too big a hole from the first half.

It was a bad combination for Cleveland: O'Neal was rusty and James was called for two charges and a travel. There was a brief scare when James turned his left ankle when he stepped on D.J. Augustin's foot on a drive.

He returned, but was on the bench for the final three minutes with three fouls. With O'Neal shooting just 2 for 6 and lumbering up the court, the Bobcats were running at will in building a 58-43 halftime lead.

A couple weeks after James suggested he and the rest of the NBA players wearing No. 23 should change to honor Jordan, the new Hall of Famer watched his team post its third straight strong performance -- at LeBron's expense.

"He told us to not let up on him and be aggressive, keep attacking LeBron," Wallace said. "Fortunately, were able to get him into foul trouble."


  • Shaq's return meant Zydrunas Ilgauskas came off the bench on the night he tied Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry for the team's leader in games played with 723. "It says a lot, especially with the injuries," he said of his longevity.
  • The Cavaliers spent Thanksgiving at owner Dan Gilbert's house in suburban Detroit, a day after beating the Pistons. "Dan was his normal goofy, corny, small self," Mike Brown said, smiling.
  • It was Charlotte's first sellout of the season.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Gerald Wallace (31 points, 14 boards) creates all sorts of problems for Shaq and the Cavs.  (Getty Images)
Gerald Wallace (31 points, 14 boards) creates all sorts of problems for Shaq and the Cavs. (Getty Images)
Cleveland (11-5) 1924281687
Charlotte (6-9) «2632241294
CLE:L. James 25 Pts
CLE:A. Varejao 11 Reb
CLE:M. Williams 6 Ast
CHA:G. Wallace 31 Pts
CHA:G. Wallace 14 Reb
CHA:R. Felton 7 Ast
Players of the Game

G. Wallace

L. James

Related Video

CBSSports Shop

Men's Nike Scarlet Ohio State Buckeyes No. 15 Limited Football Jersey

College Sideline Gear
Get your favorite school
Shop Now

M. Williams, PG4010-200-146422
L. James, SF3810-193-464425
S. O'Neal, C305-111-380311
A. Parker, SG220-40-03100
J. Hickson, PF201-23-41035
A. Varejao, C281-40-111132
J. Moon, SG263-70-06148
Z. Ilgauskas, C152-41-15015
D. Gibson, PG153-61-30137
D. Green, SF21-20-02002
D. West, SG20-00-00000
C. Karl, PGDid Not Play
L. Powe, PFDid Not Play
J. Williams, SFDid Not Play
D. Jackson, PFDid Not Play
Totals 36-799-1746142587
S. Jackson, SG447-182-224217
G. Wallace, SF409-1410-14141131
R. Felton, PG364-110-04708
B. Diaw, SF191-40-03052
T. Chandler, C181-30-03142
N. Mohammed, C285-73-661313
R. Murray, PG204-61-203010
D. Brown, SF201-52-61124
D. Augustin, PG113-50-01117
G. Henderson, SG30-10-01000
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
A. Law, PGDid Not Play
A. Ajinca, CDid Not Play
D. Diop, CDid Not Play
Totals 35-7418-3035191894
Other Games
Wash 94 Final
Miami 84
Atl 100 Final
Phi 86
Tor 103 Final
Bos 116
LAC 104 Final
Det 96
Dal 113 Final
Ind 92
SA 92 Final
Hou 84
NY 125 Final
Den 128
Mil 90 Final
OKC 108
Pho 120 Final
Min 95
Mem 106 Final
Port 96
NJ 96 Final
Sac 109