Isaiah Thomas got a little bit of retribution against the Cavaliers, his former team, on Sunday. The Lakers pulled out a 127-113 win, and Thomas scored 20 points, racked up nine assists, and chipped in five rebounds. In terms of plus/minus, a measurement of how an individual player affects a team's score while he's on the floor, Thomas had his best game of the season (+18).
Thomas claimed after the win that it was just another game.
Here’s Isaiah Thomas insisting this wasn’t a revenge game. “They just made a business decision and I’m trying to move on for the most part.” pic.twitter.com/BgS4U0UMqR— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 12, 2018
We don't buy it. There's no question this one meant something to I.T. Throughout the game, he barked at the Cavs' bench. The 5-foot-9 guard has always played with a chip on his shoulder, but that chip was especially evident Sunday.
Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma noticed it, too. Kuzma said he enjoyed seeing Thomas' killer mentality against Cleveland.
"He was barking at Cleveland's bench the whole time every time he scored, so that was cool," Kuzma said at practice Monday.
He added: "He was only there for like 15 games or whatnot, but it was good to see him try to kill them. We have a saying, 'Your last team, they didn't want you.' So he took it to them and did a great job."
Watch Kuzma's full post-practice interview below.
🎥 Kyle Kuzma details his relationships with Julius Randle and Isaiah Thomas pic.twitter.com/lfnDHdgdqD— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 12, 2018
It might be a stretch to say the Cavs "didn't want" Thomas, but they definitely needed a change. It's yet to be determined whether the dramatic shakeup they made at the deadline will be enough to get Cleveland back in the Finals.