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J.R. Smith to start Game 3 vs. Pacers

Smith hurt his hamstring in Game 2.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

J.R. Smith will start Thursday in Game 3 after all. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said that Smith will start during his pregame media availability Thursday in Indiana.

During the Cavs’ Game 2 win, Smith hurt his hamstring and didn’t play in the second half. He could be seen visibly frustrated on the sideline and said after the game that he could have played. Iman Shumpert started in his place in the second half and took on Smith’s job of defending Pacers forward Paul George.

It will be interesting to see how Smith plays and how he looks. If he looks a step slow or hampered at all by his injury, it may be wise for Lue to turn to Shumpert. At the same time, Shumpert had his best game in recent memory in Game 2. Lue wants to keep the Cavs’ rotation at nine, but may need to go to 10 depending on how the game ufolds.

The Pacers are making a change to their starting lineup. C.J. Miles is in at shooting guard in place of Monta Ellis.