Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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All eyes will be on Isaiah Thomas when he makes his debut in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at point guard against Magic in Orlando.
Thomas, who will be playing only his second game after recovering from a torn labrum in his right hip, fired in 17 points in but 19 minutes in his first game in seven months in a 127-110 win against visiting Portland on Tuesday night.
LeBron James, like everyone associated with the Cavaliers (25-13), is pumped up to have IT in the starting lineup tonight when they face the Magic (12-27).
“It’s good to have him back in the lineup tonight, for sure,” James said before shootaround Saturday in Orlando. “I know he’s excited and the other night at home versus the Blazers, he gave us a sample of what he could do for our team, what he can possess for our team.
“So we’re happy to have him back in the lineup tonight.”
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he did not provide any specific instructions for the two-time All-Star point guard heading into tonight’s game.
“Naw, just playing his game, be aggressive, do what he does and go from there,” Lue said of Thomas at shootaround. “Losing five out of seven is tough, but we’ve got a tough road trip, but it was a breath of fresh air to get Isaiah back for the Portland game and just see what he could do and the dynamic be brings to the team.
“So that’s a positive of having him back now, outside of back-to-backs. (It) will be good for us.”
James said adding Thomas will provide a boost to an already-dynamic offensive basketball team, one that has averaged the fifth-most points per game in the NBA (109.9) without Thomas on the floor. Thomas led the Eastern Conference in scoring a season ago with the Celtics at 28.9 points per game, the third-best mark in the league.
“We’re going to find out,” he said. “But it definitely adds another playmaker on the floor, another shotmaker on the floor, another guy who can command a double-team, especially off pick-and-rolls.
“He’s gonna attract defenses and allow guys like myself, J.R. (Smith), Kev (Kevin Love) and Jae (Crowder) to get great opportunities, so we look forward to it.”