The Cleveland Cavaliers' trade deadline moves may have given them a new rank in the food chain.
Cleveland has now won two straight games with deadline acquisitions Rodney Hood, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson in the lineup, and, though a small sample size, the Cavaliers suddenly look like the Eastern Conference juggernaut of seasons past.
Head coach Tyronn Lue admits the Cavaliers still have work to do, but consecutive wins over the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder give reason to believe his side is on its way to becoming a powerhouse again.
"I think we've got to get back to being the hunters and not the hunted," Lue told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "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."
Following their first win together on Sunday - a blowout victory against the Celtics - LeBron James praised his new teammates, stating it felt as if they had been with the team all along. Lue echoed James' feelings about the new-look Cavaliers and added the quartet has performed better than even he predicted they would.
"I thought that we've got guys that can shoot, dribble and pass, and they can make plays," Lue said. "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."
Thanks to the coming break over the weekend, the non-All-Star Cavaliers will receive a week's worth of rest before facing the Washington Wizards on Feb. 22.