(3-0, 2-0 home)
7:00 PM ET, October 12, 2009
CLEVELAND -- Even at 37, Superman can still fly.
In his second preseason game at home, Shaquille O'Neal introduced himself to Cleveland's fans with a dive into the stands during the Cavaliers' 111-94 preseason win against Olympiacos.
O'Neal and LeBron James each scored 12 points in limited time, but it was O'Neal's launch into the seats that sent fans scrambling for safety. The 325-pound O'Neal angled himself so that he landed on an empty chair.
"That chair ain't going to hurt him," James said. "I feel bad for the chair."
Shaq soared into the seats after he was shoved in the back on a fast break in the first half. 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 a quick 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.
"I just try to land safely," O'Neal said of his many dives.
Even at 7-feet, he is no stranger to airborne trips into the seats: "I look out for sharp objects, land and spring back up."
The Cavaliers' pair of superstars 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.
James 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.
James said he is still working on his chemistry with O'Neal.
"It's still continuing, where he wants the ball, where he likes the ball," James said. "We're going to force-feed him the ball if he wants it, and I think he does. He's one of the all-time leading scorers in this league's history, so we know he can score the ball."
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.
"He easily could have played," Brown said.
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.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis, commonly known as "Baby Shaq" in Greece, had a tough time going against the real Shaq. Schortsanitis didn't get his first basket -- on a dunk -- until O'Neal was out of the game with seven minutes left until halftime. He finished with 4 points.
Schortsanitis, whose draft rights are held by the Los Angeles Clippers, played a key role in Greece's upset of LeBron and the Americans in the 2006 World Championships.
"I grew up watching Shaq, so it was great," said Schortsanitis, who enjoys being compared to O'Neal. "It's a real honor that I can get a nickname of a player like that. He's an absolute power. I thought I was strong, but he's so strong. I really enjoyed it."
O'Neal welcomed the visitors by sending his game-worn jersey to Yotam Halperin and he posed for pregame pictures with some of the Greek players.
Josh Childress, who played four seasons with Atlanta before leaving for Europe in 2008, scored 16 for Olympiacos.
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."