LeBron has the support he needs

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There's no shock value in the fact that the Cavaliers closed out the Bulls Tuesday night, or that LeBron James came an assist short of his second-straight triple-double in doing so.

But the Cavaliers certainly needed all The King's men in their narrow Game 5 victory -- and they delivered.

That there's no shock value in that, either, shows why this Cavaliers team is different than it was in postseasons past.

That's not to say these other guys could win the whole thing if James'

mysterious elbow ailment -- a "numbness" that had The King shooting his final free throw Tuesday left-handed -- turns out to be worse than he's letting on. That's also not something anybody in or around Cleveland wants to fathom; we'll take LeBron's postgame word for it that he's going to be OK.

In any case, these aren't just any other guys.

Perhaps you've heard of Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison? The two biggest and most recognizable pieces added to the Cavaliers' mix since last year's flameout in the Eastern Conference Finals were huge in pushing the Cavaliers through to a much-anticipated date with the Celtics set to begin this weekend.

Jamison scored 25 points in Game 5, scored them in his typical variety of ways and hit a huge 3-pointer with 3:29 to go to give the home team what turned out to be crucial breathing room as it pushed the lead to 9.

O'Neal, who's used this series to play his way back into game shape, wasn't a significant factor in Games 2-4. He made his presence known early in the clincher, though, and early in the fourth quarter his renewal of acquaintances with Brad Miller led to the Cavaliers getting in the bonus and eventually going 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

In addition to 14 points and 8 rebounds, O'Neal had two dunks, a block and earned one of the night's biggest ovations when he squashed Joakim Noah with a dive for a loose ball that was part football fumble drill and part pro wrestling move.

"Shaq really made that paint look crowded," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He made those guys take some shots they probably didn't want to take. He was a big time presence for us at both ends.

"He drew some fouls on them that turned out to be big (Miller and Taj Gibson fouled out; Noah played most of the fourth quarter with five).

It's hard to cover him without using both arms and leaning your body on him. His presence was big for us tonight. We needed him every single second he was on the floor."

The Bulls pushed the Cavaliers in this series more than the final results may indicate. But it was the Cavaliers' edges in overall size, depth and experience that helped the top seed overcome a stubborn Bulls team that isn't pleased with the result but has to be excited about the future.

With O'Neal - who's 38 - and the aforementioned James guy playing on contracts that expire when this season does, the future is now in Cleveland.

"The only incentive I'm worried about," O'Neal said after Game 5, "is the final goal."

Here's the standard James has created for himself: he had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists on an "off" night. James had just 3 points on 3 shots at halftime Tuesday night, and the number of ways he contributed down the stretch were overshadowed by talk of the mysterious elbow ailment later.

He had plenty of help, though, and Jamison and O'Neal weren't the only ones providing it. On a nightmarish shooting night (2-of-13) for Mo Williams, the Cavaliers got 16 points, 4 assists, 30 minutes and plenty of defense from Delonte West. The always-energetic Jamario Moon also gave the Cavaliers 16 minutes and a variety of contributions that included a 3-pointer and an acrobatic dunk on an alley-oop from James.

Jamison threw a backdoor pass for a dunk and caught one later.

Anderson Varejao grabbed the rebound of Rose's final miss that set up James' clinching free throw. Williams, West, Anthony Parker, Moon and finally James took turns making Rose work (27 shots) for his points.

That's a lot of battle-tested bodies.

The Cavaliers couldn't overcome Williams' struggles against Orlando last May. This year, they're not only able to work around them, but James keeps feeding his teammates and encouraging them to shoot.

He can't do it by himself, nor does he want to.

"I tell the guys to take the shot if (they're) open, which they going to be because I do attract a lot of defensive attention," James said. "I'm glad I have great teammates like that."

Just how great they are from here on out will determine will determine the Cavaliers' ultimate fate.

For more Cavaliers coverage, check out FOXSports Ohio and Zac Jackson's blog .