In what was supposed to be a crowning moment for one of LeBron James’ all-time nemeses in Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, the newly revamped Eastern champs spoiled the fun.
Pierce, a longtime and fierce rival of James, who helped end James’ first stint in Cleveland was set to have his No.34 jersey retired to the rafters in Boston.
Clearly, The King and his Men had other ideas in a 121-99 rout.
48 hours after revamping forty percent of their roster in trading away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder, the Cavs not only got younger and more athletic in the additions of Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood and George Hill, but also more team-oriented.
If first impressions from one game are any indication, then Cleveland came away with some real gems as they looked more athletic, faster, better defense at the three point line and on the wing, better rotation on defense.
In their debuts with the Wine and Gold, Clarkson dropped 17, Hood added 15, Hill had 12 and Nance Jr. added five in what has seemingly become an annual rite of spring in the heated Celtics-Cavs rivalry.
Just as when winters come and snows melt, the Cavaliers rout the Celtics on their own legendary hardwood floor.
While the Cavs are nowhere near their longtime NBA Finals rivals from the West Coast in the form of the Los Angeles Lakers, there is a true sense of rivalry between Boston and Cleveland that is built on both mutual respect and disdain.
If last spring and what transpired on Sunday is any indication, then expect these two Eastern powers to once again clash real soon in April.
As for the present, just when all hope was seemingly lost in The Land, we now see a younger and more rejuvenated King who is ready to conquer once more as he and his band of merry men just put the entire East back on notice.