Debuting to a standing ovation of 20,562 at Quicken Loans Arena, the smallest Cleveland Cavalier provided the team perhaps the biggest boost in the form of point guard, Isaiah Thomas.
In his first game in seven months following a season-ending hip injury, Thomas put on a show for the sellout crowd downtown in scoring 17 points in 19 minutes, while shooting 6-12 from the floor, three assists and going 3-8 from three-point range.
Acquired in a blockbuster deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, Thomas—a two-time All Star and second-team All-NBA, quickly showed why he finished third in the NBA in scoring (28.9) and finished fifth in NBA MVP voting.
Showing next to no signs of rust, Thomas showed a combination of explosiveness, pace, pin-point shooting and a natural feel and command at the point.
The 28-year-old former Washington Huskie star, also displayed his ability to find people in traffic thanks to two highlight-reel worthy passes to LeBron James and Jaw Crowder. To say that this is one of the most anticipated debuts in both the NBA and in Cleveland is an understatement.
Taken with the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, it is well known that along with his diminutive height, he plays with a proverbial chip on his shoulder that a blue-collar town such as Cleveland can appreciate. And thanks to his up-tempo, fearless style of balling, IT4 will quickly become a Cleveland fan favorite.
While he is not expected to play in Boston against his old team, he is reportedly set to start vs. the Orlando Magic Saturday.
If his debut as starting point guard is anything like his Cavs debut off the bench, then bot Cleveland and their fans are in for a treat, as Thomas will bring a new dimension of explosive, up-tempo burst that will take the already-good defending Eastern conference champions to a whole new level.