What a difference a few days makes. Prior to the trade deadline, the narrative was that the Cavs were broken, Dan Gilbert had wrested control of the team away from first-year GM Koby Altman, and it was only a matter of time before LeBron was headed out the door. Then Altman went for broke, sprayed the board, and did the only thing he could do to potentially get the Cavs back in the Finals conversation: he shipped out basically half the team.
Sunday saw the first action from each of the new members (as well as another starting opportunity for plucky upstart Cedi Osman, who is quickly becoming LeBron’s newest high-energy mascot – a role vacated for a couple years after Anderson Varejao was traded). Jordan Clarkson (17 points on 7-of-11 shooting), Larry Nance (five points, four rebounds, three assists), George Hill (12 points, 2-of-4 from deep), and Rodney Hood (15 points, 6-of-11 shooting) all made a positive impact in their blowout win over the Celtics. Hill hit shots and made things difficult for his matchup on defense, Nance is a walking and living embodiment of the Energizer Bunny, Hood feels like a younger version of JR Smith (who suddenly looked like JR Smith again), and Clarkson was everywhere.
If LeBron’s body language is any indication, he’s thrilled.