The Cleveland Cavaliers went in to Trade Deadline day on Thursday with all intentions to completely reshape their roster, and that they did. The dealing for them began when they sent Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. The Lakers also received the Cavaliers' 2018 first-round pick, as this move seems to clear cap space for them to pursue the likes of LeBron James and Paul George come the off-season. This move also signals the end of the Isaiah Thomas experiment in Cleveland, as that lasted just a month, 15 games to be exact, as he is expected to play with Lonzo Ball in the Laker backcourt. Clarkson is under contract through 2019-2020, while Nance's deal goes through 2018-2019. The Cavaliers then moved on to a three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, which landed them George Hill and Rodney Hood. That trade featured Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose going to Utah, and Iman Shumpert and a second-round pick in 2020 heading to Sacramento. The 31-year-old Hill is averaging 10.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists this season and is under contract through the 2019-2020 campaign. Hood has had a history of injuries at just 25 years old but is averaging a career-high 16.8 points in his fourth season. With these moves taking place, the Cavs felt obligated to ship Dwayne Wade, which they did, back to the Miami Heat for a heavily protected draft pick. This move is really due to the fact that Wade would not have had much playing time with the recent acquisitions. On paper, it seems as if the third-seeded Cavaliers have improved immensely, but we won't know for sure until they debut together on Sunday afternoon in Boston against the Celtics.
Irving, Celtics Edge Wizards in Overtime
Speaking of the Boston Celtics, they did not do much at the deadline outside of debuting Greg Monroe on Thursday night. They still remain the top team in the Eastern Conference following a 110-104 overtime win over the Washington Wizards. Kyrie Irving had 28 points on the night, including 12 of his team's final 17 points to help the Celtics overcome a slow fourth quarter. Irving was fouled on a three-point shot with under 10 seconds left and went 3-for-3 at the line to tie the game. Bradley Beal was unable to get a good shot off as time expired, which forced overtime, where the Celtics outscored the Wizards, 12-6. Washington was still without John Wall, as they were lead by Otto Porter Jr.'s 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Beal added 18 points and a career-high-tying nine assists. The one issue for the Wizards came from their 22 turnovers, along with their 2-for-12 shooting in the final five minutes. Jaylen Brown scored 18 points, including five in overtime, for Boston, who has won five of six to stay a game ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They will return home to host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, while the Wizards stay on the road to visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
North Carolina Tops Duke in Rivalry Matchup
The North Carolina Tar Heels took a slim edge in the all-time rivalry with the Duke Blue Devils by edging them on their home floor Thursday night, 82-78. Joel Berry II scored 21 points to lead the Tar Heels, who overcame a four-point halftime deficit. They did that by getting off to a 16-2 run to begin the second half, and never looked back after that. They ended up leading by as many as 10, which helped them overcome a dismal 2-for-18 finish in the final eight minutes. The Tar Heels were coming off a win over Pittsburgh, which snapped a three-game losing streak, as this victory gives them a 7-5 conference record. They had four players with at least 15 points in the win, including Cameron Johnson, who had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds. The Blue Devils were led by freshman Gary Trent Jr.'s 16 points in their fifth loss overall, four of which have come in ACC play. They move on to visit Georgia Tech on Sunday night, while the Tar Heels battle in-state rival NC State Saturday afternoon, after the Wolfpack took them down in Chapel Hill last weekend.