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"I used to play Kobe, but now I play LeBron," James rapped loudly while eyeing a flat-screen TV.
He wasn't singing afterward.
The Cavaliers came out intent on running the Celtics out as they did late last season in a 31-point win at home.
Cleveland broke out to a 13-2 lead, went up 19-5 on a short jumper by O'Neal and led 28-21 after one. The Cavs' defensive highlight of the period -- and maybe one for the season -- came when James chased down the speedy Rondo and rejected his dunk attempt.
But as happened so many times in the past, the Cavs' offense bogged down when James went to the bench and the Celtics heated up. Allen made two 3-pointers and scored 11 in the second quarter and the Celtics made seven 3s while opening a 51-45 halftime lead.
James had a basket taken away when the officials reviewed a layup in the final minute. It was the first use of the NBA's expanded instant-replay system, which allows officials to check to see if a shot has gotten off before the 24-second shot clock expires.
NOTES: O'Neal joked that he would miss injured Boston forward Glen Davis. "They call him Big Baby for a reason," cracked the Big Diesel. "Because he's my son." ... The Cavs have shown interest in free agent G Antonio Daniels, who had his contract bought by Minnesota during the preseason. Brown and Ferry worked with Daniels in San Antonio. "I like him as a person," Brown said. "He's a veteran guard with some size who has won a championship." Daniels cleared waivers on Tuesday. ... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat courtside. He and James are friends, and Big Ben competed against O'Neal this summer on the Shaq Vs. TV series.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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