Who ARE these guys?

On Thursday, the Cavaliers beat the Lakers 93-87. With the win, LeBron James' team swept Kobe Bryant's team for the season (on Christmas Day, they beat the Lakers in LA, 102-87). Terry Pluto writes about how the Cavaliers are better built to compete this season:
It happened during warmups, the first time the Cavaliers played the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Some of the Cavs coaches and front office people looked at the two teams and told each other, "Those guys are really tall."

And next to the Lakers, the Cavs looked kind of small.

Two times, the teams played. Both times, the Cavs were easily defeated, the final scores being 105-88 and 101-91. After both, the Cavs wondered if they actually did win the Eastern Conference, how would they deal with the Lakers in the Finals?

Fans know that question didn't matter, because the Orlando Magic used its size to knock the Cavs out of the East finals. The Lakers then made the Magic disappear to win the title.

Following the season, the Cavs wondered how to deal with a Lakers front line of 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and 6-10 Lamar Odom? Then there's Kobe Bryant, who always seems to play larger than his 6-6 frame?

An NBA-best 66 regular-season victories was not enough; the Cavs knew that after last season. Ben Wallace was not tall enough to cope with monster centers Dwight Howard of Orlando or Bynum and Gasol.

Who could cover Bryant, besides LeBron James? Yes, Delonte West was gritty, but he was giving away four inches to the future Hall of Famer. The same when West defended Boston's Paul Pierce, or several of Orlando's wing players.

On the bench were Sasha Pavlovic and Wally Szczerbiak, and neither had a prayer against Bryant or Pierce or another other talented scorer.

So the Cavs decided to be bold. They traded for Shaquille O'Neal to help defend the paint area near the basket. They dispatched Szczerbiak and Pavlovic, adding Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker -- both long, more athletic wing players.

They broke up a 66-win team partly to compete with the Lakers.

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