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Isaiah Thomas Remains Upbeat After Defeat on Lakers Debut

15 February 2018

Newly acquired guard Isaiah Thomas will debut off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Dirk Nowitzki had a season-high 22 points, Harrison Barnes added 21 and the last-place Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Lakers 130-123 on Saturday night. He played 31 minutes off the bench and shot 7-of-12 for 22 points. He also had six assists. Ahead of the National Basketball Association trade deadline's last Thursday, Cleveland sent him to the Lakers along with Channing Frye and a first-round pick in exchange for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. Dennis Smith Jr. played a balanced game, producing 14 points, five rebounds, 6 assists and two steals.

Isaiah Thomas used his crossover dribble to create an open 3-pointer that helped his new team build a double-digit lead in the first half. We are going to get him playing and get him used to what we do and I told him that for us, it doesn't matter who starts and who doesn't.

With just one game and one practice under his belt, Thomas has already been a pleasant surprise to Coach Luke Walton, who anticipated more of a learning curve as far as Thomas getting comfortable with where his new teammates like the ball and to come off screens. That's one reason I believed the Cavaliers struggled when both Thomas and James were on the court, averaging -15.5 points per 100 possessions.

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The "block" in "blockbuster" came from the smallest, most famous player in the deal, the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas (actually 5-8¾ without shoes at the 2011 draft camp), who succeeds Kobe Bryant as the franchise player.

As for Thompson, perhaps a big payday and an increased role will be on the cards after he wins another championship or two with the Warriors, not to mention that his dad, Mychal, was a member of the Lakers dynasty of the 1980s.

When Ball returns from his injury, Walton could start Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ingram, Julius Randle and Brook Lopez.

"I'll be honest, he's gonna be fine", Frye said of Thomas.

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The deal in major part was done to allow the Lakers to be rid of what they saw as the inflated contract of Clarkson.

"I mean, this is the first real practice I had all year", Thomas said, per Ryan Ward of ClutchPoints.

Johnson explains that he would not have made the moves if not confident that he could use the money that would be saved in salaries to bring more talent to the team. Offensively, I couldn't get going, either. That was the first time I was able to have the ball in my hands and make a play and have guys, I don't know. I think those guys were a pretty significant plus for the game, which is a positive.

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Isaiah Thomas Remains Upbeat After Defeat on Lakers Debut