The Cleveland Cavaliers, down 2-0 after blowout losses to the Golden State Warriors, may switch up their starting lineup for Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is considering starting Iman Shumpert in place of JR Smith in the backcourt for Wednesday’s game in Cleveland, according to ESPN.
Shumpert experienced cramping in the second half of the Cavs’ 132-113 Game 2 loss on Sunday night and required intravenous fluids after the game, a team source told ESPN.
Shumpert finished with six points, four rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes off the bench, shooting only 1 of 6 from the field.
But the Cavs may go with Shumpert in the starting lineup because of his defense in trying to slow down Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
On Sunday, Curry and Durant teamed up to get the Warriors within two victories of another championship.
Curry recorded his first career postseason triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Durant — seeking his first ring — had 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.
Smith has been a non-factor in the two losses with just three points on 1-of-4 shooting in 28 minutes in Game 1 and had zero points in Game 2 on 0-of-2 shooting and four fouls in 14 minutes.
Lue said the Cavaliers must improve their defense to have a chance in Game 3.
“Having awareness, can’t relax, can’t fall asleep,” Lue said after Sunday’s loss. “This team, their offense is constant movement, so you got to be locked in.
“You can’t take a peek somewhere else and lose your man. So they make you pay. And they have a lot of guys who are great passers, so you got to be alert at all times.”
(Editing by Larry Fine)
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