If you’ve been following the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, you’ve probably noticed they don’t typically change their starting lineup unless it’s after a loss. Despite the strong play of Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love will once again start at center for Game 2.
“Whatever is good for the team is what we’re going to do,” Lue said. “I think it spreads the floor out for us. (Jonas) Valanciunas is going to go to help and try to block shots. Kevin is going to have open shots all night, so, whatever is best for the team is what we’re going to do.”
If Kevin Love was playing like he did during the season, this would certainly be the correct move for the Cavs. Against Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka, Love should have no problem scoring and generating open looks.
But when you factor in his struggles offensively, his ability to play Valanciunas off the floor becomes diminished. Valanciunas shot 5-9 from the floor against Love without a center, and 2-10 when Love sat or was joined by Thompson.
The Cavs really have no choice other than to keep feeding Love with opportunities, as he’s the only other high ceiling talent they have outside of LeBron James. Plus, having Thompson come off the bench may help keep him healthy and effective.
One does have to wonder if playing alongside a center could help get him going offensively as a result of a lighter load on defense. But for now, the Cavs are still in the process of figuring out who they are and what works best in the playoffs. With a Game 1 win, the team has the luxury of experimenting for another game.