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LeBron, Shaq combine for Cavaliers victory

LEBRON James and Shaquille O'Neal each scored 12 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Olympiacos of Greece 111-94 preseason exhibition game yesterday.

The Cavaliers played without their starting backcourt. Point guard Mo Williams was held out with a sore right groin, while shooting guard Delonte West has been absent with the team's permission for the last week while dealing with personal issues.

Williams could also miss Wednesday's game against Washington, coach Mike Brown said, although he doesn't believe the injury is serious. West was only expected to miss a couple of days, but has now been absent since last Tuesday with no return date in sight.

Daniel Gibson started in place of Williams, connecting on 3-of-6 3-pointers for 15 points with three assists.

Josh Childress, who played four seasons with Atlanta before leaving for Europe in 2008, scored 16 for Olympiacos.

As for the Cavaliers' pair of superstars, they are still learning how to play together.

They executed perfectly a pick-and-roll in the first, when O'Neal took a pass from James and finished with an easy layup. But his alley-oop pass in the second quarter clanged off the back iron, drawing a smile from James as he jogged back on defense.

LeBron made up for it just before halftime, when he lofted a pass above the rim that O'Neal caught with one hand and dunked in one motion.

O'Neal proved that even at 37, he can still soar.

Shaq was shoved in the back on a fast break in the first half and went flying into the front few rows behind the baseline. He brushed himself off and promptly missed both free throws, but was in position to grab the rebound. He tried another slam, but the ball smacked the iron and sailed toward half court.

O'Neal never made it back on defense, but an Olympiacos turnover allowed Anthony Parker to hit a wide open O'Neal, who used two hands for the dunk before finishing with a twist on the rim as the crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena roared.

Anderson Varejao had 13 points for Cleveland after missing Saturday's game against Charlotte with back spasms.

Cleveland was also without Jamario Moon, who had wisdom teeth extracted last week, and forward Danny Green, who has a sore leg.

With the NBA's referees currently locked out, the replacement officials are still learning on the job.

Childress was upset James was not whistled for goaltending on a block from behind in the third quarter and was quickly given a technical for griping.

The Greek players and coaches were harassing the referees throughout the night, sparking one official from the Greek team to quip: "These refs are tragic."


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