The Cavaliers entered Tuesday night’s game against the Blazers in need of a win - they’d lost four out of their last five games including their last three. They earned their win, dropping the Blazers in easy fashion with a dominant fourth quarter, 127-110.
But that wasn’t the story.
Coming off the bench, Isaiah Thomas made his long-awaited debut as a Cavalier and looked very good doing so. Thomas dropped 17 points on 6-12 shooting and 3-8 from three alongside three assists in his first game in wine and gold in just 19 minutes of action.
After an early adjustment period, Thomas settled into earning mostly wide open three-point looks, and his dynamic playmaking ability added a ton of juice to the point guard position. He specifically found good chemistry with Dwyane Wade, who he found for multiple baseline cuts. It was about as encouraging of a start as you could expect, and Thomas will likely start Saturday against the Magic after sitting Wednesday against the Celtics.
Thomas wasn’t the only former Celtic that showed out — Jae Crowder dropped a strong 17 points in his 24 minutes and found good chemistry with Thomas on the pick and roll.
Tristan Thompson was the other standout performer in this one — he’s had a recent run of solid play amid a fairly disappointing season, and that continued against Portland. Thompson only played 17 minutes, but managed to pull four offensive rebounds and finished the game +19 as he keyed multiple strong defensive stretches, a rarity for the Cavaliers.
Ultimately, it was a strong outing from the Cavs — they put the clamps on Portland in the 4th quarter and the bench units were stellar. The Cavs were finally whole, and they looked very dangerous against the Blazers. We’ll see how they handle Boston without Thomas in tow.