The game began with promise for Boston as in the first quarter with Irving guarding him, LeBron threw up a brick on one end - and immediately on the other end, Irving drilled a step-back jumper in his former teammate's face. "It's my job to as the leader of this team to make sure that I acclimate the new four guys to be around a culture that's built around winning". Hood, Clarkson, and Nance came off the bench but played very well and made their presence felt while on the court. He's the No. 2 option to James and a pivotal part of their offense with his outside shooting and low-post skill set.
The Cavs also lost a ton of playoff experience with these trades, which could play a factor in April, May and possibly June.
A victory over the Celtics on Sunday would make a huge statement to the rest of the conference and the National Basketball Association in general. The Toronto Raptors are legit, and despite Sunday's lackluster performance, the Celtics are real contenders as well. 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.
Pierce was the last one to give James that real competition, and he is absolutely responsible for ushering that new era of the East. On Saturday, Celtics great Robert Parrish called Pierce the greatest offensive player in team history, topping even Larry Bird.
Whether or not the Celtics are true title contenders is a different story, and whether or not the Raptors are in a better position is not what they are anxious about.
Sunday's 121-99 blowout by the Cavs was a reminder that nobody on the Celtics (the league?) can stop James when he's engaged.
- The Celtics trailed by as many as 25 in the third quarter despite having multiple leads early in the first half.
A 14-time NBA All-Star, James was averaging 26.4 points, 8.9 assists and 8.1 rebounds through 54 games entering Sunday's game. Hood is an excellent shooter and versatile playmaker while Hill is the deadliest three-point shooter in the game.