In the grand scheme, Jan. 20 wasn’t very long ago but, for the the Cleveland Cavaliers, much has changed over the last few weeks. On that particular day, the Cavs suffered an embarrassing, 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even worse, Cleveland reached a defensive low by allowing 148 points.
That particular performance inspired trolling from former Thunder and current Knicks big man Enes Kanter and, famously, pushed then-Cavs guard Isaiah Thomas to indicate that the Cavs didn’t “trust each other.” Of course, the Cavs would eventually blow things up with a memorable trade deadline.
Since then, Cleveland appears headed in the right direction behind inspired play from LeBron James, a breath of fresh air from their deadline acquisitions, and a rejuvenated group of players who were already on the team. The combination of improvement for Cleveland, regression for Oklahoma City, and the brilliance James himself came together on Tuesday evening in a performance that ended with the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions getting revenge.