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Around the NBA: New-Look Cavs Strong Start, Isaiah Thomas Makes Debut with Lakers
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12 Feb 2018 05:34 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James dribbles at the Boston Celtics. (Image Source: AP Photo)

Let’s go around the NBA:

LeBron Happy with Start

The Cleveland Cavaliers remade their team at the trade deadline and rolled out their new-look unit on Sunday at the Boston Celtics in a potential Eastern Conference Finals Preview. The final score was 121-99, Cavs.

"It was a good start," LeBron James said. "It's almost like the new guys have been here."

Ya think?

Newcomers Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance Jr. scored 49 points between them and shot a combined 8-of-15 from three-point range.

"It started with George and his on-the-ball pressure and him just running the team," James said of Cleveland’s new point guard. "And then the three guys came off the bench. Jordan was—he's ready to score at any time, but his composure was great. Rodney plays with so much poise, and Larry was just controlling the perimeter, setting great pick-and-rolls. Got him a lob, got him a dunk, so it was a good start for the new guys, a good start for all of us with our revamped team so far."

James had a pretty good game himself with 24 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. He also set the tone for his new teammates prior to the game.

"LeBron said before the game, 'Who cares about mistakes? Who cares about missed shots? Who cares about all that stuff?'" Hill told the media. "We weren't here to be perfect. There was no judgement out there today. Go out there, have fun, take our shots, be ourselves. I think that's what we tried to do."

The Cavs sent a message on the trade deadline and another one on Sunday. They still might be the team to beat in the East.

Thomas Gets His Powers Back

There’s no doubt that Cleveland’s trades appear to have rejuvenated LeBron James and the Cavs. Getting shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers may have done the same for point guard Isaiah Thomas.  

In his LA debut, Thomas scored 22 points, a total he bettered just once in 15 games with the Cavs.

"I wanted to bring something to the table," Thomas said. "I felt like I got my powers back playing on this team."

Thomas drained half of his eight three-point attempts and dished out six assists in 31 minutes.

"I was shocked," Thomas said of the trade. "It was a surprise, but at the same time, I am happy to have a new start, I am happy to be here with the Lakers, happy to be with a young team that is exciting, that likes to get up and down. That's my style of play. I am here to help in any way possible. It's a fresh start for me. I am excited.

"It kind of reminds me of the same situation when I got traded to Boston. It was a young team that was thinking rebuild, but we had some different thoughts than that, and we made a push to the playoffs. That is my job: to come to this team and bring that spirit, that fire, that killer's mentality and just understand that we can take advantage of this opportunity that we have [the rest of] the season. It's about winning, and it is about winning right now."

The former All-Star was coming off a hip injury and didn’t play his first game in a Cleveland uniform until the calendar turned to 2018.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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