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Cleveland Cavaliers' new faces yield results in win vs. Boston Celtics

From NBA media reports

Spinning off George Hill’s comment that LeBron James is Batman and it’s on the newly acquired Cavaliers players to learn how to be Robins, we offer this line from the 1989 Hollywood version of the Caped Crusader’s tale, the one starring Michael Keaton with Jack Nicholson as an increasingly frustrated Joker.

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” the Joker said at one point, reacting to Batman’s gadgetry.

* Recap: Cavaliers 121, Celtics 99

The Boston Celtics might be thinking the same thing after getting pummeled by James and the new “toys” he has available now on the Cleveland roster. The heavy lifting done by Cavs GM Koby Altman at the NBA trade deadline Thursday shed a half dozen disappointing and underperforming players, while adding Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., and the new guys wasted no time in contributing Sunday in Boston.

Their impact was felt quickly by James, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

It’s only one game, and not even a full practice, into the new chapter of Cavs’ basketball, which started when general manager Koby Altman sent six players out the door for the four mentioned above.

One game. A half a practice. A different spirit.

“It wasn’t because of the guys,” coach Tyronn Lue said after Sunday’s 121-99 win over the Celtics. “From losing, your spirits are always going to be down. But, tonight I thought our spirits were great. We were playing hard and we competed. And that’s what we had to see from this team. It wasn’t about the other guys, it was about we’re losing, so, everyone’s spirits were down, including mine.”

The Cavs traded Isaiah Thomas and Frye to the Lakers; Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to Utah; Iman Shumpert to Sacramento; and Dwyane Wade to Miami.

The team was 7-10 since Jan. 1 and 7-13 since Christmas before the trades. The tumult in the locker room and on the court was well documented.

Now?

“At the end of the day, I just like being around guys who want to play and work hard,” said James, who finished with 24 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds in three quarters. “I know I demand a lot of excellence out of my teammates but I demand out of myself too. And we on the road, we want to try and play as well as we can, and we want to try to put ourselves in contention to try to compete for another championship, and that’s my mindset.”

For J.R. Smith, one of just four Cavaliers left from the 2016 NBA championship squad, not getting traded had an impact as well. The veteran shooting guard, who has had a low-impact season, scored 15 points and threw down a highlight dunk, and admitted later he thought he might be dealt away too.

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