J.R. Smith has been something of a disaster so far in these Finals. He’s struggled to defend with consistency in this series and has had some of the most inopportune fouls possible. This has led to speculation that Tyronn Lue may replace him with Iman Shumpert in the starting lineup for Game 3, but Tyronn Lue says that isn’t happening.
"I'm not doing it," Lue said, when asked if he would swap out Smith for Shumpert in Game 3.
Lue, in general, resisted any changes to the Cavaliers gameplan, and that included slowing down the breakneck pace the team has been playing at through two games.
"We're not going to change our game because of who we're playing," Lue said Tuesday at The Q, where the Cavs worked out to prepare for their first Finals home game in this series.
"I'm confident that we can play that way, and we did it last year," Lue said. "A lot of people said we couldn't. But that's our game. That's who we are. And we're not going to change just because we're playing Golden State."
This is...interesting. Now, Lue isn’t afraid to make change in the Finals, as he was happy to stick Matthew Dellavedova and Channing Frye on the bench the second they proved unplayable. This either tells me that he thinks there’s more subtle tweaks to be made, or that he knows he can’t afford to plant Smith on the pine.
With regards to the pace, it might be too difficult for the Cavaliers to create enough offense playing a half-court heavy game against the Warriors. They’re most vulnerable in transition, and it’s wise to attack when they can.
Lue has been dealt a tough hand here, and his best actions haven’t resulted in a ton of success for Cleveland, especially in the second halves of Games 1 and 2. Not changing his rotation doesn’t mean that he’s resisting change altogether, but he has to figure out a way to attack this Golden State team sooner rather than later.
He’s running out of time.