Three years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a big Trade at midseason to rescue a faltering team and rocketed through the remainder of the regular season with a difference as stark as (Charlie) Day and Knight (Rider). (One day, you’re a comedic actor with a ceiling of “leading man’s alcoholic brother,” the next you’re an all-powerful talking car. Chew on that Elon Musk.)

During the first week of January 2015, Cavaliers GM David Griffin made two trades that netted them Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for Dion Waiters and two first-round picks.

Last week the Cavaliers made two trades that netted them George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., whose father played for the Cavaliers the last seven years of his career. Nance replicated one of his dad's dunks while coming in second during Saturday's NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

In their first four games after the trade, Cleveland shot 54 percent from the field, 48 percent from three, averaged 27.5 assists and 10.8 turnovers, outscoring opponents by an average of 12 points a game. Is history repeating?

Same stuff, different year

In 2015, the team was struggling in the aftermath of Anderson Varejao’s season-ending torn Achilles tendon and LeBron James taking two weeks off in Miami, losing seven of nine to fall 19-17 before the trade.

The Cavaliers actually lost the next three games after the trade, falling to 19-20 before James returned on January 15, 2015, to help lead the Cavaliers over the Lakers.

From that point forward the team would go 34-10, finishing as the top seed in the NBA Eastern Conference. They were 30-3 in games featuring James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, then won the first three games of the opening playoff series with Boston before Love went down with an injury.

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Cavs are again staring down a Love injury, but he’s due back by April, and last year was able to come the last week of March from mid-February knee surgery that was scheduled to last 4-6 weeks. This time Love’s battling a left-hand fracture that should keep him sidelined 6-8 weeks but which occurred 12 days earlier than last year’s injury.

The new look

Prior to the trades, none of the Cavaliers’ three point guards were shooting well enough from three or doing much to involve their mates. While Dwyane Wade held together the second squad during a strong stretch of play in November, he was shooting just 33% from three on a limited number of attempts (1.5 per game) and committing 2.0 turnovers to just 3.5 assists in 23 minutes per game.

Derrick Rose (25 percent from three, 1.6 to 1.8 assist/turnover) and Isaiah Thomas (25 percent, 4.5 to 2.7 A/T) weren’t any better. Before the trades, the Cavs were 16th in three-point shooting percentage (36.2) and third in attempts per game, showcasing the kind of high-volume/low-efficiency work you might expect from Adam Sandler.

The addition of Hill (fourth in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 45%), Hood (43%) and Clarkson (a slightly below average 33%) gives the Cavaliers much better shooting. Add to that Nance, who is one of the best roll men in the league, and already has good chemistry with Clarkson from their time with the Lakers, and is also great in transition.

Not only have the new additions meshed well, but the team's still awaiting Love's return which will potentially make them even more dangerous.

On Tap Next

The Cavaliers come out of the break with the dreaded three games in four days. It starts on Thursday against Washington. The Wizards level of play has jumped since losing all-star point guard John Wall at the end of January.

They went into the break winning six of eight, including home victories over the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Traveling to Memphis on Friday for the second of a back-to-back might be trouble for a Cavaliers team that plays down to their competition. But it looked like Cleveland traded that team away. After a day of travel (and hopefully rest), there’s a nationally-televised Sunday afternoon ABC game against the Spurs.

By next Monday we should have a better idea if those pre-break games were the signs of a renaissance or fool’s gold.