LeBron James could not contain his delight after the Cleveland Cavaliers' new quartet helped inspire a big victory over the Boston Celtics.
Struggling for form and consistency in the NBA this season, the Cavs made a splash on trade deadline day, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr as the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade made way on Thursday.
Hill, Clarkson, Hood and Nance played for the first time on Sunday and guided the Cavs to an impressive 121-99 win over the Celtics in Boston.
"It was a good start," three-time NBA champion James said. "It's almost like the new guys have been here."
The new guys showed out tonight on #NBAonABC!@JordanClarksons: 17 pts, 3 reb, 3-4 3PM, 2 stl@rodneyhood: 15 pts, 3 reb, 3-6 3PM, 1 blk + 1 stl@George_Hill3: 12 pts, 3 reb, 2-4 3PM@Larrydn22: 5 pts, 3 ast, 4 reb, 1 stl— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 11, 2018
Game 1 as a Cavalier: #AllForOne pic.twitter.com/qQizuSJ4Bc
James fell just shy of a triple-double, posting 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, while Hill (12), Clarkson (17), Hood (15) and Nance (5) combined for 49 points.
"It started with George and his on-the-ball pressure and him just running the team," James added.
"And then the three guys came off the bench. Jordan was - he's ready to score at any time but his composure was great.
"Rodney plays with so much poise and Larry was just controlling the perimeter, setting great pick-and-rolls. Got him a lob, got him a dunk, so it was a good start for the new guys, a good start for all of us with our revamped team so far."
The Cavaliers entered the blockbuster clash six-and-a-half games behind the high-flying Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
"I think they [Celtics] are playing better basketball than we are, especially for the majority of the season," James said. "We've got some work to still do. We're just coming together; guys don't quite know what we want to do. ... So, we've got some catching up to do.
"Not only Boston but Toronto and Philadelphia and a lot of other teams in the Eastern Conference and the rest of league. To try to get on a page where we feel like we're confident enough to win a playoff game."
Before the game, Hill said his and the rest of the team's goal was to fill in around James' playing scheme following the departure of star guard Thomas.
"We have one of the best players in the history of the game, I'm sure he's going to dictate the tempo and things like that," Hill said. "We just got to do our job, be the best role players we can possibly be. He's the Batman, and we got to be all Robins. We got to figure it out."
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