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PREVIEW: New-look Cavs battle Irving, Celtics in Sunday matinee

1. Developing chemistry with new acquisitions

Head coach Tyronn Lue plans to start Hill, and bring Hood, Clarkson and Nance Jr. off the bench. The lineup will keep Cedi Osman in an elevated role on the wing, while also adding to the team’s athleticism on both ends of the floor.

Hill entered the league out of IUPUI in 2008, primarily serving as a defender with marginal shooting abilities. Over the course of his nine-year career, he has become quite the opposite, as evidenced by a career-high and league-high 45.3 percent three-point percentage in 2017-18, and a career-worst 112.9 defensive rating. The 31-year-old has battled injuries in recent years, which may play a role in his new skillset.

Hood is having his best season, averaging 16.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.8 steals over 27.8 minutes per contest. As a 6-foot-8 shooting guard with a 37-percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc, the 25-year-old provides length and the ability to run the floor.

Clarkson has played a career-low 23.7 minutes per game and only made two starts this year, a sign that the Lakers were ready to move on. With that said, Clarkson is still shooting a career-high 44.8 percent and has exceeded all expectations since he entered the league as a second-round pick out of Missouri. Clarkson and Hood are the same age, and were drafted 23 picks from each other.

Nance Jr. is the son of Larry Nance, a three-time All-Star who played for the Cavaliers from 1987 to 1994. He joins LeBron James as the second player from Akron, Ohio on the team, and will become the first participant in the NBA Dunk Contest in franchise history since Bob Sura in 1996-97.  Nance has averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals over 21.6 minutes per game in his three-year professional tenure.

Finding a fit for this quartet will be a priority throughout the final two months of the regular season.

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John Alfes is a senior at John Carroll University, and hails from Westlake, Ohio. His love and passion for the game of baseball originated in 1998, when he played catch with his father at the age of two. A former collegiate pitcher, Alfes currently serves as a Cleveland Cavaliers reporter for AP Radio/Metro Networks and the Cleveland Indians Beat Writer for CBS Sports/Scout Media Network, all while majoring in Communications (focus in Journalism) and English (focus in Professional Writing). He is the Sports Editor for The Carroll News, Sports Director for WJCU 88.7 FM and Senior Writer for the John Carroll Sports Information Department. John is an Eagle Scout and loves his two younger brothers (Conrad and Daniel) and two parents (John and Celeste). You can follow John Alfes on Twitter (@JohnAlfes) or reach him through email (

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