Shaq fifth to score 28,000 career points
CLEVELAND — Shaquille O'Neal had one regret about moving into elite NBA scoring air. It should have happened long ago.
O'Neal became the fifth player to score 28,000 career points, and the Big Diesel made his enormous presence known at both ends of the floor as the Cleveland Cavaliers began a long stretch of home games with a 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors last night.
O'Neal reached the major milestone with a layup in the first minute. He was proud of the achievement, but felt it was overdue.
"I've missed like 5,000 free throws," O'Neal said. "If I had at least hit half of those, then I would be at 30,000 right now."
LeBron James scored 28 points and performed a few signature dunks that won't be seen during the All-Star slam contest and Mo Williams added 22 as the Cavs, who just returned from a long road trip, improved to 15-3 at Quicken Loans Arena. They play 10 of their next 12 at home before Feb. 19.
O'Neal added 16 points, assisted on two big baskets down the stretch and set the tone for Cleveland's defense in the second half by knocking down Toronto guards Demar DeRozan and Jarrett Jack with hard fouls.
"There's no layups when Shaq is covering the glass," James said. "That's what he's about."
HEAT 113, PACERS 83
Dwyane Wade scored 18 of his 32 points in the first quarter as host Miami ran out to a commanding lead in cruising past Indiana.
Michael Beasley scored 21 for Miami, which led 36-19 after one quarter and by 23 at one point in the opening half. Wade shot 12 of 20 and passed the career 11,000-point mark with a second-quarter layup.
Hawks' pretest denied: The NBA has denied the Atlanta Hawks' protest over a shot-clock error, when Commissioner David Stern ruled the mistake didn't have a "clear impact" on last month's loss at Cleveland.
The Hawks protested their Dec. 30 defeat after officials failed to notice that the 24-second clock was not reset after a miss by Cleveland with 1:56 remaining. Atlanta was leading 99-98 but did not get its allotted time and wound up making a turnover rushing for a shot.