Tyronn Lue said the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers “exceeded my expectations” heading into the All-Star break after impressive road wins over the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following a 120-112 win over the Thunder on Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ head coach said the ability to attack is the key contrast between present and past.
“I think we’ve got to get back to being the hunters and not the hunted,” Lue said, via ESPN. “These young guys we have, able to shoot, drive or pass it, adds a different element to our team. They’re playing free, having fun.”
LeBron James had 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists against the Thunder and his new teammates helped the Cavs avenge last month’s embarrassing 148-124 home loss to Oklahoma City.
The Cavaliers won their second straight since adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in a series of three deadline trades last week.
“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.”
Nance Jr. had 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, while Clarkson and Hood scored 14 points apiece. Hill added seven points and four assists as the starting point guard as the Cavs extended their winning streak to four games all while All-Star forward Kevin Love recovers from a hand injury.
“I thought that we’ve got guys that can shoot, dribble and pass, and they can make plays,” Lue said Tuesday night. “It’s changed our team, and we’re a lot faster. Now I think we’ve got a chance to switch a lot of things with our size and our length. We can switch stuff defensively. I thought it would be a process; it’s still going to be a process. But the first two games I didn’t think they would not be decent. But they exceeded my expectations.”
James praised Cavs general manager Koby Altman for the trade-deadline deals.
“Well, I think Koby did a heck of a job of understanding what our team needed,” James said. “It just wasn’t working out for us, and he felt like — obviously, you guys saw his quotes — he made the changes that he felt best fits our team. Then it’s on me to make sure the new guys that come in. I make sure 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. And so, I’m just trying to have the communication at an all-time high for us, for the new guys and for the rest of the guys as well.”
–Field Level Media