When news broke that J.R. Smith was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, we envisioned him being on the receiving end of lengthy lob passes from LeBron James. The high-fliers flipped the script on Friday against the Charlotte Hornets, though, with The King catching a pitch-perfect half court alley-oop from Smith and flushing it home.
This actually serves as a nice encapsulation for the entire game.
An active and energetic Cleveland blitzed Charlotte from the opening tip, leading 33-13 after the first quarter and 75-40 at halftime. The Cavaliers are up 45 early in the final stanza, and James is on the bench for good with 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals. Smith has 21 points, four boards, and four dimes of his own, too.
Might Cleveland have turned the corner? David Blatt’s team is well on its way to a fifth straight win, and is playing the type of dominant offense and opportunistic defense that so many assumed would be its hallmark in the preseason.
There’s a long way for James and company to go yet, but the Cavs’ recent play sure is encouraging.
(Video via Basketball Nation)
What do you think?
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