Revenge is indeed sweet for Isaiah Thomas as the diminutive point guard led the Los Angeles Lakers to a blowout victory over his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas, however, did not see his brilliant performance as a revenge game against the team that unceremoniously traded him away in the middle of the NBA season apparently due, in part, to his “lack of humility,” according to ESPN.
Thomas scored 20 points, dished out nine assists, and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench to help the Lakers to a 127-113 victory on Sunday. Power forward Julius Randle led the Lakers with 36 points while big man Brook Lopez and 3-and-D guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 22 and 20 points, respectively. Top rookie Lonzo Ball contributed five points and seven assists while draft steal Kyle Kuzma pitched in 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers led most of the way despite the all-around game of LeBron James who finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Former Lakers fan favorite Larry Nance Jr. added 16 points while Jordan Clarkson was limited to four points in 16 minutes.
The game was surprisingly lacking in drama despite the rumored bad blood between Thomas and the Cavaliers, as CBS Sports pointed out. In fact, there were no signs of animosity between Thomas and James as they hugged before the game. James was also seen playing with IT’s sons. There were also a lot of handshakes, smiles, and pleasantries exchanged in the middle of the court between Thomas and his former teammates. As ESPN pointed out, Thomas wasn’t the “villain in the locker room,” as some may have believed. The problem with Thomas was he didn’t exactly fit with the Cavaliers and so the decision was made to let him go.
The lack of fireworks couldn’t discount the fact that Thomas played well against the Cavaliers and that he got some form of revenge whether he admits it or not.
“I only played 15 games with the Cavs, so it wasn’t like it was a revenge game,” Thomas said. “I keep saying the world knows what I bring, so I don’t got to play so good just to show them what they gave away.”
Thomas also insisted that he still has “really close friends” in the Cavaliers and that he fully understands that the team simply made a business decision.
“I’m trying to move on… for the most part.”
Thomas also didn’t seem to be bothered by the latest report that some in the basketball circle thought he “lacked humility,” UPROXX reported.
“The All-Star whom the Cavs got for James wasn’t impressing him. Or other players on the team,” Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst said in their ESPN story. “As one team source put it, when asked about Thomas in the week leading up to the trade deadline: ‘I’m all for an underdog story, but you usually expect some humility to be part of that story.”