NBA ICYMI The Cavs Get a JumpStart From a New Starter
It doesn't take an astrophysicist to gaze upon the Cavaliers as currently constituted and realize that LeBron needs help. More specifically, that he's needed a second option all season. Dwyane Wade was never going to be that. Isaiah Thomas wasn't that. And Kevin Love is currently sporting Banana Republic on the sidelines with a hand injury, while Tristan Thompson will be out for two weeks with an ankle injury. Enter Larry Nance Jr., whose introductory performance after being named the starter 'for a while' by Ty Lue filled a proper highlight reel and helped the Cavs beat the Pistons, 112-90.
Nance played the most minutes of any Cav. By halftime, he had posted 18 points and 10 rebounds and thrown down five dunks. (He finished with a career-high 22 points and 15 rebounds.) His defensive effort was equally impactful, prompting the Cavs color announcer to wonder aloud how many Nances were out there at one point. I counted one; he was just huge.
The 25-year-old who wears his dad's no. 22 has an elastic wingspan and a trampoline-like springiness that's contagious. (By the break, I wanted to drop my laptop and test out my vertical. It wouldn't have been pretty.) It was like LeBron felt it, too. In the second half, LeBron came out firing and made three 3s in the third; he totaled an effortless 31 points and provided more eye-test proof backing up the numbers that say the Cavs are far better with him and Nance on the court together.
LeBron James-Larry Nance Jr. i' birli'i! #SporxNBA pic.twitter.com/BybhAKyLIj
Cleveland was 2-4 since the All-Star break and somehow only three and a half games ahead of the 8-seed in the East before beating Detroit. The 'fixing' that was supposed to have happened at the trade deadline had been looking more like a temporary Band-Aid that had started to come off. On Monday night, Nance used his right dunking hand to patch it back on.....
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