Isaiah Thomas got his powers back in Lakers debut

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Thomas scored 22 points - more than in 14 of his 15 games with Cleveland this year - and handed out six assists.

And, for Isaiah Thomas, that's where he succeeds.

Thomas, a lifelong Lakers fan, completed his first practice with his new team on Monday, an occasion that coincided with Lonzo Ball's first practice, albeit a limited one, in almost a month. "I'm happy to be in Los Angeles and to get that joy and happiness back of playing and just working hard each and every day", Thomas said. The wide-open nature of Saturday's game, a 130-123 loss, showcased Thomas' talents. With the protected first-round pick they got from the Cavs (Cleveland's own pick, not Brooklyn's), they might even get someone to take the remaining $36 million on Luol Deng's contract, creating two max slots with $12 million left over.

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The veteran was the most efficient player in the league when scoring off handoffs * a href="https://stats.nba.com/players/hand-off/?Season=2016-17&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&PerMode=Totals&sort=PPP&dir=1&CF=Poss*GE*62" target="_blank" rel="noopener" *(1.29 PPP) last season. The Cavs seemed to have purged themselves of any negative locker room energy - Derrick Rose was shipped off, after receiving criticism for taking a few weeks off earlier in the season; Isaiah Thomas, despite talking down about his teammates in interviews of late, claimed that he didn't want to be traded. Their culture allowed him to thrive. IT had an MVP-caliber season past year, but it might not have finished that way if it wasn't for Brad Stevens and the phenomenal system they have in Boston. It would likely cost more to bring in a replacement player capable of starting at the point.

"I was shocked", Thomas said of the trade. For a team now No. 3 in the Eastern Conference and supposedly having two superstars on the court, that's an extremely discouraging figure. He was getting his wind back while his teammates were in the throes of a awful patch - one that Thomas' skill set was not equipped to fix. He was getting shots up and missing by the boatload.

He's set to be a free agent this summer, and after his struggled in Cleveland, Thomas will want to show teams he can still be a valuable player.

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The IT era was a disaster in Cleveland.

That will be brought in by the team's newest additions.

"I am not too anxious about [what the role will be]", Thomas said. Just in general, we kind of let them get comfortable. "We got to figure it out". "And then if that feels good you start playing again".

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Battling the Lakers (23-31) for the better part of 53 minutes before suffering a heartbreaking 107-101 overtime loss on January 13, the Mavericks will seek retribution Saturday night on their home floor.

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