Ilgauskas takes advantage of Lakers' void in middle

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Darius Miles couldn't help himself. Caught up
in the euphoria of a home-opening win over the Lakers, one of the
newest Cavaliers spoke his mind.

"We're going to put on a show every night,'' Miles told the
Gund Arena crowd. "We're going to surprise the world.''

Well, they've already stunned the Lakers.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 23 points for Cleveland in an 89-70
victory over the Shaq-less Lakers, whose point total was the
franchise's lowest since moving to Los Angeles in 1960.

The Lakers scored just 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Ricky Davis added 24 points and Tyrone Hill had 17 rebounds for
the Cavs, who dazzled a crowd of 19,833 -- including high school
phenom LeBron James -- by blowing out the three-time defending NBA

"I love proving people wrong,'' said Miles, who had 13 points
in his home debut. "They say we're the 29th team in the league?
Maybe we'll just go out and make the playoffs.''

With Shaquille O'Neal missing his fifth game while recovering
from off-season foot surgery, the Lakers had no inside game and
only Kobe Bryant as an offensive threat.

Bryant finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in
40 minutes, and just missed becoming the first player since Grant
Hill in 1997 to have three straight triple-doubles.

"We didn't hit shots and fell in love with the outside shot too
much and they didn't fall,'' Bryant said.

Previously, the fewest points the Lakers had ever scored in a
game since moving from Minneapolis was 74. Los Angeles shot just 32
percent, including 4-of-20 on 3-pointers. In the fourth, the Lakers
went just 5-of-22.

"We got good shots but we didn't knock them down,'' said Robert
Horry. "Tonight, everybody shot it bad, everybody.''

After Davis' reverse dunk put Cleveland up by 20 with 3:30 left,
fans began chanting, "Beat, L.A.'' and saluted the Cavs with
several standing ovations.

It was an ideal start at home for the young Cavs, who are coming
off three straight 50-loss seasons and aren't expected to be much
better this season.

"It was a good win,'' Miles said. "But they didn't have Shaq.
Shaq is 30 points. Shaq is 20 rebounds. Shaq is five blocks. He'll
be back when we go to Los Angeles (Jan. 10). He told me he owes me

The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas, whose career has been sidetracked by
foot injuries, showed why if he stays healthy he could be the
Eastern Conference's top center.

Ilgauskas showed an assortment of power moves underneath and a
soft touch from the outside while working against Samaki Walker and
Soumaila Samake.

And as the Cavs' big man dominated, the Lakers' big man sat
helplessly on the bench with his arms crossed.

Davis' three-point play and a 3-pointer by Bimbo Coles helped
the Cavs open a 73-60 lead with 11:03 left, and as the Lakers
misfired, Cleveland built its lead to 82-64 with 5:54 remaining on
Ilgauskas' final basket.

The Cavs are carefully monitoring his minutes, and coach John
Lucas pulled Ilgauskas with 4:53 to play and Cleveland comfortably
ahead 88-66.

"If Zydrunas can continue to improve, we have a chance in the
Eastern Conference because of his size,'' Lucas said.

Miles fed Davis for a one-handed, alley-oop dunk to key a 10-2
run that built Cleveland's lead to 61-51 in the third quarter and
got Cavs fans as pumped up as they've been in four years.

"We're playing the game and selling tickets,'' Miles said.

Game notes
O'Neal is eligible to be activated for Thursday night's
game in Boston, but it's unlikely he will make his debut until next
Tuesday in Atlanta. ... Bryant reiterated his desire to play on the
U.S. Olympic team in the 2004 Athens Games. He's also trying to
talk O'Neal into joining him on the American squad. "He said, 'If
you do it, I'll do it','' Bryant said. ... Cavs rookie guard Dajuan
Wagner has gained back half of the 15 pounds he lost while
hospitalized with a bladder infection. The first-round pick began
practicing Monday and will travel with the club to Philadelphia and
Washington this week. He was disappointed at missing the home
opener. "This is my dream,'' he said. "I just want to play.''

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