"The fact that he chose to come off the bench in Cleveland has minimized and also limited his opportunities to do certain things that he has always been capable of doing, so I would imagine he would morph right back into the role of being a scorer, a front-line scorer for us, a crunch-time scorer for us, a defender on the ball in niche situations", Riley said.
"I know the guys that are here are very excited about this opportunity", James said.
Coupled with Toronto's blowout win over Charlotte earlier in the day, the Celtics finally were knocked off their perch atop the Eastern Conference, and now trail the Raptors by a half-game. After one-quarter of action, the Celtics were up by one, 32-32. He played better on Wednesday night, scoring 13 points with seven assists in 31 minutes. General manager Koby Altman traded six players, including Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, and two draft picks in moves created to help them not only in the short term but could help keep LeBron James beyond this season. But instead, what they got was a lesson in humility.
To have any hope of making the NBA Finals, the Celtics can not rely on a Cavs implosion.
James is now surrounded with capable three-point shooters, which could be the difference in important playoff games.
Cleveland's new guys left fans with a pretty good first impression.
James fell just shy of a triple-double, posting 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, while Hill (12), Clarkson (17), Hood (15) and Nance (5) combined for 49 points.
"Larry Nance Jr., how cool is it for him to come home?" Their deal with the Cavaliers, in which they acquired Thomas, got them out of future salary and set themselves up to offer perhaps two maximum contracts in free agency. There wasn't just one area. "It's nearly like the new guys have been here". We just got to do our job, be the best role players we can possibly be. Whether the Cavs can keep the momentum going is the question, but all the various contributions to a blowout win of the Eastern Confernce leaders is as good a start than anyone could have hoped. "We're a revamped team so far".
The next chance to see the new look Cavs in action will come Tuesday night in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
So Isaiah Thomas won't be at the Garden today to not get his tribute video as Paul Pierce's No. 34 is retired.
Doc Rivers was back in town for the retirement ceremony and made sure it was known he was there for Pierce, and not the Celtics.
Boston will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they take on the Los Clippers in Boston on Valentine's Day.