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J.R. Smith out vs. Bulls due to knee soreness

Channing Frye will replace Smith in the starting lineup.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Cavaliers are getting ready to take a shot at the suddenly red-hot Bulls and end their seven game win-streak, but they’ll do it even more short-handed than they already are.

The Cavs announced that J.R. Smith will miss Thursday’s game, and Channing Frye would take his spot in the starting lineup.

Starting Frye is an interesting choice given his positional and role difference from Smith. It slides Jae Crowder to the shooting guard spot and moves Kevin Love to the power forward in a more traditionally big lineup than the Cavs normally trot out.

For Frye, it’s a nice opportunity - his role has dwindled in the Cavs rotation ever since Tristan Thompson returned from injury alongside Cedi Osman’s emergence as a player who suddenly gets 15-20 meaningful minutes (not that anybody’s complaining).

Frye gives an injection of shooting that’s lost when J.R. is forced to sit, and that’s probably the right call given Jae Crowder’s recent slump from distance.