Cavaliers weigh moving Shumpert into starting lineup

by Leon Thompson June 8, 2017, 1:30
Cavaliers weigh moving Shumpert into starting lineup

One of the options Lue has heading into Wednesday's Game 3 is to bench struggling starting guard J.R. Smith for Iman Shumpert, who played well defensively in Game 2 but wore himself out guarding Durant and needed IV fluids afterward.

Lue, though, is staying with Smith, who said his wife, Jewel, offered advice on how to end his slump.

Smith scored the first Cavs field goal of Game 1, a 3-pointer, but hasn't been heard on the offensive side since that time. "So you've got to try to focus on the next game and your job and what you can do to help your team be successful", James said. And I'm confident that we can play that way, and we did it previous year.

Trailing Golden State 2-0 in the best-of-seven championship series, the Cavs come home after two lopsided road losses hoping for a repeat of previous year, when a game-three win set the stage for the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.

The 26-year-old Shumpert averaged 7.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 76 games in 2016, including 31 starts. Cleveland wouldn't have been able to win either of the first two games with Shumpert in Smith's place, but a shakeup might have had some positive effect. He and Smith engaged in a spirited game of 1-on-1 during the portion of the practice that was open to the media and Shumpert could be heard encouraging Smith to bring the same mindset he displayed in practice to the rest of the series.

"We're not gonna change our game because of who we're playing".

According to ESPN's research, the pace of play in the first two games was faster than in any of James' previous 212 career postseason games.

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"We just need our supporting group to be themselves as much as possible", Irving said.

I arrived in OH late this morning to cover Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals.

"We're going to go home and watch the film to see ways we can be better", James said. We play our game.

"We want to play with a pace, but to play with pace, you gotta get stops".

So the only real change for the Cavs is going to be location.

" I get out of the auto and he pulls out in his truck and he's looking at me and he says 'We're going to be partying on Saturday, don't you worry'".


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