LeBron, new-look Cavs blow out Thunder
New additions continue to excel
LeBron James and his new teammates are playing like old buddies.
James scored 37 points, and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers got a much different result this time against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 120-112 victory on Tuesday night.
Cleveland claimed its second straight win since adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in trades, and their fourth straight victory overall. The Cavaliers lost to the Thunder 148-124 on Jan. 20 with a very different roster.
“It’s a change of scenery and they’re just trying to take advantage of it,” James said. “For the guys that were here, we’re just trying to make them as comfortable as possible. Make the transition as seamless as possible.”
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the changes create a lot of problems.
“I think their ability to space it, drive it, kick it, their skill level, I think — not that it was bad before, but I think the speed, probably the tempo and the pace they are playing at is a little bit faster,” he said.
Each of Cleveland’s additions made solid contributions against Oklahoma City. Hill started at point guard and went 24 minutes without a turnover. Hood and Clarkson each scored 14 points and Nance had 13 points and nine rebounds, including eight offensive boards.
James praised Cleveland general manager Koby Altman for getting what the team needed at the trade deadline.
“It just wasn’t working out for us. He made the changes he felt best fit our team,” James said. “Then, it’s on me to make sure the new guys that come in, that they fit in and make it as seamless as possible. That’s my job. This is the third game in a row my voice is gone. So I am just trying to have communication at an all-time high for us.”
Holdover guard J.R. Smith added 18 points for the Cavaliers. It was Cleveland’s second straight road win against top competition — the Cavaliers rolled past Boston 121-99 on Sunday.
“We’ve got to keep working,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “It’s a process. You’ve got to keep playing well, keep getting better and hit that stride late.”
Paul George scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony 24 for the Thunder.