Tyronn Lue contemplating lineup changes for Game 2

Cavs’ coach may tighten 10-man rotation

Daryl Ruiter
April 16, 2018 - 2:34 pm
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue following their Game 1 loss to Indiana

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Independence, OH (92.3 The Fan) – With the ebb and flow of a playoff series comes adjustments game to game.

After having their lunch handed to them Sunday afternoon by the Indiana Pacers, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue is working on changes for Game 2 Wednesday night starting with his 10-man rotation.

“We might start chopping down a little bit,” Lue said Monday. “We might be chopping it down because guys are hurt, so, maybe a little bit.”

Lue played 10 players in the first quarter – partially because of foul trouble – in the 98-80 loss that saw Indiana lead by as many as 23 in the third quarter only to see the Cavs close to within 7 before pulling away again late.

As for the starting 5, making changes there is also in consideration.

“We’re looking at it but I’m not going to talk about it,” Lue said.

Larry Nance Jr. should've earned the nod after scoring 10 points and pulling down 5 rebounds in 29:38 off the bench whereas Jeff Green went scoreless and was largely ineffective in 26:31 of floor time.

The health of Kyle Korver also impacts the starting 5, so conceivably Lue could - and should - make 2 changes there with J.R. Smith getting some consideration after scoring 15 points off the bench. 

The Cavs’ coach was asked if he played his best 5 together Sunday to which he responded, “No, we couldn’t get to it.”

He better for Game 2 or they could be looking at 0-2.

Under the weather – One of many questions about Lue’s rotation in Game 1 was the use of Korver.

Korver checked in after Rodney Hood, who started in his place as he remains on a minutes restriction due to a sore foot but only played 3:38 and never saw the floor again, after Hood picked up his second foul in the first quarter.

Monday, we learned why – Korver was sick.

Korver, who went 0-3 from the floor in Game 1, missed Monday’s walk-through and film session due to the illness according to Lue.

Worse? How can it get any worse? – The Cavs are confident Game 2 will be a much different story and the reason why is simple.

“We’ll be a lot better I know," Hood, who scored 9 points on 4 of 8 shooting in 20:38, said. “We can't play any worse than we did. We've just got to take care of the ball, get good shots. I think defensively we did a solid job, but I think offensively we can't give them any ammo to come at us."

The 80 points were the second-lowest scoring output of the season for the Cavs and nearly 31 points below their season average. A major reason why was the fact that they shot 38.5 percent from the field – over 9 points lower than their season average.

Hood felt they played “tight" in Game 1 which contributed to 17 turnovers and a bunch of foul trouble early.

The bottom line for the Cavs is that it comes down to just playing better basketball, starting with LeBron James, who didn't take a shot until less than 2 minutes to play in he opening quarter. Lue plans to look to James early Wednesday night. 

"He has to be aggressive and set the tone early," Lue said. "Especially for these new guys, bringing these guys along. He understood that but once again, he's always a guy trying to get his teammates off early, get them guys going, then try to feel the game out. But be ready to set a tone."

Get Green Going – To say that Green had a difficult Game 1 would be an understatement.

Green went 0 for 7 Sunday as he registered a team-worst -15 plus-minus.    

“Just missed shots,” Green said. “They were wide open. I gotta make them.”

What has to happen Wednesday?

"We have to be more aggressive and play with a sense of more urgency,” Green said.

As for the over-dramatization that comes with the 3-time conference champions losing their playoff opener, Green expects that he and his teammates will join LeBron James in tuning out the external noise.

“We can’t allow the outside pressure and what people say to affect how we play,” Green said.