There is no sugarcoating the offensive struggles the Cavaliers created for themselves in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon.
Where to even begin.
There was the 8-of-34 mark from deep, not to mention the 30-of-78 shooting mark overall. There were the 16 turnovers that cost them 20 points. There was LeBron James not taking a shot until there were under two minutes remaining in the first quarter. There was Kevin Love taking only eight shots. There was Jeff Green missing all seven of his shots.
You get the idea.
As FTS’s Carter Rodriguez noted, the Cavs probably aren’t going to play a worse offensive game this year. And while that is likely the case, it doesn’t mean that the team isn’t contemplating some lineup changes.
“We’re looking at it but I’m not going to talk about it,” head coach Tyronn Lue said after practice on Monday when asked directly if changes were in the cards.
Lue also said on Sunday that he knew what his best lineup was, but on Monday elaborated that he “couldn’t get to it.”
So does that include Kyle Korver, who only played four minutes, and according to Lue was sick on Sunday, and was also excused from practice on Monday for illness? It’s possible. There’s also George Hill who hurt his back and played just 18 minutes. Lue said Hill underwent treatment on Monday and that he was “stiff.”
So clearly, the whole squad being healthy could play a factor in who exactly plays, and the 10-man rotation could ultimately end up just being a Game 1 thing.
“We might start chopping down (the rotation) a little bit,” Lue said.
Then there’s Tristan Thompson, who only saw two minutes of action in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand already. J.R. Smith would probably be the most likely candidate to move into the starting lineup, especially considering the fact that he had 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field on Sunday.
It’s hardly a secret that Smith and Thompson both have had more than their fair share of struggles during the regular season. But considering they are two of the core four guys who have been to the last three Finals, it’s perhaps most likely that one or both of them will see more time this series.
“We’ve been talking about it as a staff,” Lue said when asked how important it is knowing how Thompson and Smith react in playoff situations. “I just know those guys have been through everything with us the last four years and we won a championship, went to three finals. Tristan and J.R. played a big part of that. We understand that and trust me, we know that.”
The bottom line is, Lue typically doesn’t tip his hand with lineup decisions earlier than necessary. If changes actually come to fruition, we likely won’t know anything definitive until just before Game 2.