LOS ANGELES - The yellow foam hands came flying in from every corner of the lower bowl, sailing onto the Staples Center court in dozens of frisbee-style arches late in the Cleveland Cavaliers' dominant, 102-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday.

LeBron James was more worried than amused by this unusual display of frustration from the Lakers' fans - and he got a bit more concerned when at least one full water bottle followed the foam.

Despite that bit of surreality in response to the officiating of a physical game, the Cavaliers were hands-down better than the defending NBA champions.

"The only thing that you hope doesn't happen is one of the players getting hit or a referee getting hit, especially by a full water bottle," James said.

The fans were driven to throw up their hands - not the usual foam No. 1 fingers, but a representation of two puppet hands making the "LA" symbol in a tie-in to Nike's LeBron-and-Kobe marketing campaign - by Lamar Odom's ejection with 4 minutes, 4 seconds to play. After Bryant received the Lakers' fifth technical with 3:45 left, more hands took flight - along with that water bottle.

"I've never seen an L.A. crowd react like this before," said coach Phil Jackson, whose bench drew a second technical after Odom's ejection for failing to produce a substitute quickly. "I like their enthusiasm. I don't like their demonstrative manner. ... It wasn't a well-refereed game, it wasn't a very well-played game, so I think it was a reaction to that."

Mo Williams scored 28 points and James added 26, while Shaquille O'Neal had five dunks among his 11 points in his latest Los Angeles return. The Cavaliers dominated the Lakers with sharp shooting and physical defense, prompting several technical fouls and retaliatory hits - and that was before the crowd lost its holiday spirit by returning their pregame presents.

"If you want to throw something, at least throw something that isn't going to hurt," Bryant said. "So I guess that [foam] was the best situation."

Nineteen seconds after the first incident, a water bottle skittered between players without hitting anyone. Cleveland coach Mike Brown said he saw another bottle in flight.

"When water bottles start flying, does it mean it's a tech, or what?" Brown said. "But it's a scary thing when water bottles and other objects start coming on the floor like they did today."

Bryant scored 35 points for the Lakers, who had won 16 of 17 before Cleveland's decisive victory behind Williams, James and the Cavs' impressive interior play, which negated the Lakers' usual advantages down low.

Meanwhile, the Cavs are tough to guard when James' teammates hit their outside shots with Williams' accuracy. James wasn't omnipresent, but played well enough to force Ron Artest to foul out with 5:01 to play.

"It wasn't about sending a message to them," James said. "It was about sending a message to ourselves and seeing how we match up with the best team in the NBA at this point."

Cleveland 23 28 25 26 – 102

L.A. Lakers 19 23 17 28 – 87

   FG   FT   Reb   

CLEVELAND Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts

James 40:44   9-19   6-11   0-4   9   3   26

Hickson 9:48   1-4   0-0   0-1   0   1   2

O'Neal 21:56   5-8   1-4   2-7   0   5   11

MWilliams 39:14   8-13   9-10   1-6   7   0   28

Parker 24:48   1-5   2-3   0-3   2   2   4

Ilgauskas 29:31   1-6   0-0   1-9   2   4   2

Varejao 32:39   4-5   1-2   1-9   0   4   9

West 16:45   3-3   0-0   0-2   4   2   7

Moon 23:56   6-7   0-0   0-1   0   3   13

Gibson 0:07   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

Jackson 0:11   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

JWilliams 0:23   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

Totals 240:02   38-70   19-30   5-42   24   24   102

Percentages: FG .543, FT .633. 3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (M.Williams 3-3, James 2-7, Moon 1-1, West 1-1, Ilgauskas 0-2, Parker 0-4). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 19 (19 Pts). Blocked Shots: 7 (Parker 2, Hickson, James, Moon, Varejao, West). Turnovers: 16 (James 7, M.Williams 4, Parker 2, West 2, Ilgauskas). Steals: 7 (West 3, James 2, Moon, M.Williams). Technical Fouls: M.Williams, 4:04 fourth.

   FG   FT   Reb   

L.A. LAKERS Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts

Artest 30:31   5-11   2-5   3-7   2   6   13

Gasol 38:40   4-11   3-4   0-6   1   1   11

Bynum 26:13   2-5   0-2   2-6   1   2   4

Fisher 35:31   3-8   0-0   2-3   0   3   7

Bryant 45:08   11-32   12-12   3-9   8   3   35

Odom 27:03   2-4   2-2   2-5   2   3   6

Farmar 12:29   0-3   0-0   0-1   0   0   0

Vujacic 7:10   2-5   0-0   1-1   0   0   5

Brown 13:11   1-4   0-0   0-2   2   2   3

Powell 4:04   1-2   1-2   1-2   0   1   3

Totals 240:00   31-85   20-27   14-42   16   21   87

Percentages: FG .365, FT .741. 3-Point Goals: 5-18, .278 (Artest 1-3, Brown 1-3, Bryant 1-3, Vujacic 1-3, Fisher 1-4, Farmar 0-1, Odom 0-1). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 14 (11 Pts). Blocked Shots: 2 (Bynum, Odom). Turnovers: 14 (Bryant 4, Fisher 3, Artest 2, Gasol 2, Brown, Farmar, Vujacic). Steals: 7 (Odom 3, Bryant 2, Artest, Farmar). Technical Fouls: Fisher, 7:36 third; Odom, 1:22 third; Delay of game, 4:04 fourth; Odom, 4:04 fourth; Bryant, 3:45 fourth. Ejections: Odom, 4:04 fourth.

A: 18,997 (18,997). T: 2:43. Officials: Dan Crawford, Sean Corbin, Kevin Fehr.