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Cavs look like a new team with Clarkson, Hill, Hood & Nance Jr. playing well in rout of Celtics, 121-99

Jordan Clarkson dribbling 2015 photo By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

George Hill shooting ball 2014 photo By joshuak8 - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Rodney Hood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Nance Jr. with Wyoming in 2014 By Mike Purgatori, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

What a difference a week makes when you are talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers.

They completely ran the Boston Celtics off the court Sunday afternoon in a national television game, 121-99.

Prior to last Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Cavs looked old, tired, non-enthusiastic, no spirit. They were embarrassed in national television games often with the outcome settled by halftime by giving up unheard of point totals of 60,70 and 80 to teams like Minnesota, Golden State and Houston.

The trading away of 6 players on the trade deadline day was the most in 30 years (1998).

There best player, LeBron James looked like he did not care at times.

The All-Star look of Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Isaiah Thomas did not play well and often bickered and did not play consecutive games very often.

The Cavs management felt a change was for the best. So they traded those before mentioned players along with Channing Frye, Jae Crowder and Iman Shupert to get younger, more athletic, more defensive-minded and better shooters.

At Boston’s TD Garden Sunday, the new-look Cavs looked better on defense, took good shots, shared the ball, hustled after loose balls, anticipated passing lanes, and most of all, followed James’ leadership. And speaking of James, he looked like he was back to playing his brand of dominating basketball.

They led 66-47 at the half. Those 66 points were the most the Celtics had surrendered in the first half all season. The Celtics are the NBA’s top defensive team. The Cavs dribbled through, around and over the top to make them look very bad.

James did not let a first quarter leg injury stop him . He had a double-double with 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

”The King” took over in the 2nd quarter, scoring 13 points, eight during a Cleveland 13-2 run that turned a close game of 1-point into a double-digit lead. The Celtics never got closer than 10 the rest of the game.

The four new players practiced with the Cavs for the first time on Saturday after passing their physicals. And they played as if they had been with Cleveland all season.

Clarkson scored 17 points, Hood added 15, Hill chipped in with 12 and Nance Jr. scored 5 and looked good on the glass and inside altering shots.

Those new players have made the Cavs the Eastern Conference favorite again.

A week ago, it looked like they would be first-round NBA Playoffs losers for sure.