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Overhauled Cavs subjection Celtics on Paul Pierce’s day


SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt mangle down a trade that sent Isaiah Thomas from a Cavaliers to a Lakers and what it means for both teams and LeBron James’ future.

BOSTON (AP) — LeBron James led a new-look Cavaliers to a blowout in Boston with an particular opening suggestive of a rivalry’s heyday.

And this time, Paul Pierce was sitting courtside in travel clothes, incompetent to do anything about it.

With a former Celtics good watchful to see his No. 34 lifted to a Boston Garden rafters, James shook off a first-quarter leg damage to measure 24 points with 10 assists and 8 rebounds to give Cleveland a 121-99 feat on Sunday.

In their initial appearances since being acquired during a trade deadline, Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points, Rodney Hood had 15, George Hill had 12 and Larry Nance Jr. scored five. The foursome used with a Cavs for a initial time on Saturday.

“I know a guys that are here are unequivocally vehement about this opportunity,” James said. “It’s my pursuit to as a personality of this group to make certain that we acclimate a new 4 guys to be around a enlightenment that’s built around winning.”


James scored 13 in a second entertain — 8 of them during a 13-2 run that incited a one-point necessity into a double-digit lead. The Celtics done it 64-55 on a initial basket of a third entertain though never got within 10 again.

As a Cavaliers non-stop a 27-point lead mid by a fourth, a throng began chanting “We wish Paul Pierce!” But he remained in his baseline seat, available a postgame rite that would lift his No. 34 to a TD Garden rafters — a 23rd chairman in a story of a NBA’s most-decorated authorization to be so honored.

“It unequivocally gave me chills, generally with LeBron out there,” Pierce told reporters afterward. “I wanted to be out there.”

The stream Celtics, who have spent most of a deteriorate in initial place in a East, could have used him.

“Yeah, we stunk,” manager Brad Stevens said. “But they were unequivocally good. They had a lot to do with that.”

PLAYOFF RACE: Terry Rozier scored 21 with 9 assists and Kyrie Irving scored 18 opposite his former group before sitting out a fourth quarter. The Celtics have mislaid 3 of 4 to tumble behind Toronto in a Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Cavaliers, who have won 3 straight, are 5½ games behind Boston. To assistance make a lift for their fourth true NBA finals, Cleveland traded divided 6 players and acquired 4 during a deadline.

“All of a new guys achieved and played well,” manager Tyronn Lue said. “So that’s a good sign.”

THE TRUTH: Pierce watched a diversion from a baseline seat, underneath a basket where a Celtics scored 42 points in a fourth entertain of Game 6 of a finals to bind their 17th NBA championship. On a other side of a basket were former manager Doc Rivers and former teammates Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Antoine Walker.

Timeouts featured reverence videos from Rivers, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Pierce’s college coach, Roy Williams.

After his family assimilated him in hoisting a late series ensign to a rafters, Pierce pronounced carrying his series late by a NBA’s most-decorated authorization is a ultimate respect — bigger than a Hall of Fame.

“When you’re perpetually with a Celtics, you’re forever,” he said.

JAMES INJURY: James banged into Aron Baynes in a line with about 5 mins left in a initial entertain and hobbled off a court, bearing his right leg. He came behind in with 9 mins left in a half and strike a jumper to tie it 40-all before his outburst that helped a Cavs lift away.

He sat out a fourth quarter, losing a possibility for an 11th triple-double this deteriorate and third straight. James pronounced he took a knee to a quad flesh though hoped to be entirely recovered before personification a Thunder on Tuesday night.

“Baynes is a large boy. He should be on ‘Game of Thrones,'” James said. “Him and Steven Adams, and I’ve got to see him next.”

IT SUPPORT: The trades mooted a mini debate over either a Celtics would respect Isaiah Thomas in his lapse to Boston. A fan favorite during his two-plus seasons in green, Thomas was traded final summer in a understanding that brought Irving to a Celtics.

Thomas balked during being famous on his initial revisit behind with a Cavaliers given he was injured. And Pierce balked during pity a theatre with him on Sunday, Cleveland’s usually other outing to Boston.

But Thomas was traded to a Los Angeles Lakers during a deadline, definition he isn’t scheduled to lapse to TD Garden this year.

SMART UPDATE: Stevens pronounced Marcus Smart continues to redeem from a torn right hand, that has kept him out given he cut his palm on damaged potion during a group hotel on Jan. 24 and indispensable stitches to tighten a wound.

“Not going to design to see him on Wednesday night,” Stevens said. “Hopeful that he will be behind and prepared to go after a All-Star break. But we’ll see.”

UP NEXT: Cavaliers during Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Celtics horde a Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.