Five quick takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers' 121-114 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center...
1. The Cavaliers have been waiting on Rodney Hood to show what's made him such a solid player in the league and Sunday, perhaps for the first time since coming to Cleveland on deadline day, he showed off his skillset. The 6-foot-8 southpaw had 16 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from the 3-point line, adding three rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes.
"I don't feel like we've seen everything he can do," Cavaliers acting coach Larry Drew said. "I know he's still doing a lot of thinking when he's out on the floor. We're trying to get him just to play. In our system, we'll allow you to play... we want you to be you. He was really good, just from an aggression standpoint. In attacking the rim and look for his shot at the 3-point line. He's just scratching the surface."
2. Two other members of The New 4 -- Jordan Clarkson and George Hill -- joined Hood with excellent games. Clarkson continues to pile up points off the bench, finishing with 18 points of 6-of-12 shooting, in 18 minutes in reaching double figures for the 15th time in 19 games since coming to Cleveland, while Hill had 17 points, matching Hood and Clarkson by making six of his dozen shot attempts, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 33 minutes. Both played excellent defense down the stretch, helping Cleveland to limit Brooklyn to 38-percent shooting in the fourth quarter, where the Cavaliers outscored the Nets, 34-25, to secure the win.
"Everybody stayed aggressive," Clarkson said. "Most importantly, we locked down on defense toward the end of the game. Got stops and the rest just fell into place. You seen everybody talking and communicating on the switches, getting into the ball and being aggressive."
"I love the defensive side of the game, so I love the challenge, I love the competitive side of it," Hill said. "When you got a guy like LeBron (James) and Coach in the huddle saying, 'We need to stop a guy,' then either him or me is always the one saying, 'I got it.'"
3. The final member of The New 4, Larry Nance Jr., picked up two quick fouls and never was able to establish any type of rhythm, finishing with just two points, one rebound, a steal and four fouls in only 17 minutes.
However, Tristan Thompson had Nance's back on the glass, pulling down 10 boards and scoring four points (on 2-of-3 shooting) with an assist in 15 minutes. Thompson also flashed some of his old form of being able to switch onto smaller guys in pick-and-roll situations and holding his own.
4.Kevin Love continued to excel. In his fourth game since returning from missing 21 games with a broken left hand suffered in Detroit, Love posted his 29th double-double of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds, adding four assists and drew his 11th player-control foul of the season. Love made 6-of-14 shots, including 3-of-6 from deep, in 33 minutes. Cleveland has won all four games since Love returned to action, scoring 120 or more points in all four games.
"This is my fourth year here, so just bringing a consistency with this team, being a familiar face that can fit pretty seamlessly...fit pretty seamless with what we are trying to do," the five-time All-Star said. "I think more than anything that's it. Just another healthy body, getting out there and fitting well with this team. If we lock in, we're a very tough team to beat."
5. Saving the best for last, LeBron James, as per usual, led the way. James scored 37 points, his 26th 30-point game of the season, adding 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal in 38 minutes. James continued to dive-bomb the basket, posting 24 of his 37 points in the paint, including another posterization, this time on former Cavalier Joe Harris (who was terrific for Brooklyn, by the way, scoring 30 points off the bench, shooting 11-of-14, 6-of-7 from long distance in only 27 minutes) in the second quarter.