Cavaliers rout Lakers in showdown of top teams

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 102-87 in Friday's Christmas Day showdown between two of the NBA's top teams.

Mo Williams scored 28 points and LeBron James 26 for the Cavaliers while Kobe Bryant managed 35 for the Western Conference leading Lakers, who had won each of their past 11 games at home.

"It wasn't about sending a message to them," James told reporters.

"It was sending a message to ourselves and seeing how we match up with the best team in the NBA at this point."

Williams finished with seven assists, six rebounds and was three-of-three from three-point range while James had nine assists.

Reserve Jamario Moon also added 13 points on six of seven shooting and center Shaquille O'Neal had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who lead the Central Division.

"Mo made some big plays. He was great from the field, made threes," James said.

"Jamario's length and defensively his athleticism helped us a lot, especially on Kobe.

"And then Shaq, the fact that he puts their bigs in foul trouble, that helps us a lot."

Cleveland built a 19-point second-quarter advantage and remained in control throughout, shooting a hot 54.3 per cent from the floor and holding the Lakers to 36.5.

"They came out and just worked us, it's a good wake-up call for us," said Bryant, who just missed a triple double with nine rebounds and eight assists despite making just 11 of 32 shots.

Ron Artest (13) and Pau Gasol (11) were the only other Lakers to reach double figures as the team's disgruntled fans vented their frustration by throwing debris on the court.

"I have never seen a Los Angeles crowd act like this before," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "(I) liked their enthusiasm, but I didn't like their demonstrative act.

"It was not a well refereed game and it was not a well played game and so as a response the crowd was unhappy about it."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Julian Linden)