The Cleveland Cavaliers were in a state of flux ahead of the NBA trade deadline last Thursday, but they were not going to accept the issues plaguing the team and play out the rest of the season falling further behind in the Eastern Conference standings.
Instead, the Cavaliers (33-22) made three deals that saw six players and one draft pick get traded in exchange for four players and a future selection, and the early returns proved themselves to be solid in Sunday’s 121-99 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
“Like LeBron said before the game, ‘Who cares about mistakes? Who cares about missed shots? Who cares about all that stuff? We’re not here to be perfect. There’s no judgment out there for us today, so just go out there, have fun, play the right way, take our shots, be ourselves,’ and I think that’s what we tried to do,” point guard George Hill said.
PHOTOS: LeBron James, new-look Cleveland Cavaliers make statement in win over Boston Celtics
According to Hill, who was acquired along with guards Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood, as well as forward Larry Nance Jr. ahead of the deadline, the Cavaliers made a statement, both with their play and the chemistry they displayed against the Celtics.
“Everyone was cheering for one another,” Hill said. “No matter if they came out of the game and played 10 minutes or two minutes or 20 minutes, it was a lot of excitement. Guys were talking to each other, even during timeouts, trying to help each other out, all the guys that were here were telling us all they can to make the game easier for us. It was just a great team effort.”
As a team, the Cavaliers limited the Celtics to 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 26.3 percent (10 of 38) from three-point range in the lopsided victory.
Also, the Cavaliers stole seven passes, blocked six shots and forced 14 turnovers.
“Just the will and wanting to play,” Hill said on what led to defensive success. “Communicating, being there for one another early, helping, talking, all the things like that. When you’ve got guys that want to do the right thing, want to play together, want to help each other out, that’s what it’s all about.”
And for those issues that had the Cavaliers reeling ahead of the deadline, they are of little consequence to Hill.
“It’s not my job to ask questions about that,” Hill said. “I’m a big believer of ‘if you continue to look back at the past, you’ll trip over your future that’s ahead of you,’ so I don’t care about what happened before. We’re here now to start something new.
“We’re trying to do something special. It’s not where we need it to be, but we’re going to continue to get better, watch film, see how we can get better. Even though we won, what are the things that can make us 10 times better. That’s what we’ve got to focus on, but the first thing we’ve got to do is continue to play and just have fun.”