Cavs want to play faster, could shuffle lineup
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - The actual starting lineup will be kept under wraps by Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt until later Wednesday, but if Blatt inserts high-energy forward Tristan Thompson into the lineup, LeBron James will move back to his more familiar small forward spot for Game Two vs. the Chicago Bulls.
"We get our three-man back," Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving said at Wednesday morning's shootaround.
If it happens, the Cavs will be aiming to get out and go -- much faster than they were able two in a Game One loss during which the Cavs got just two fast-break points.
"It was great seeing LeBron at the four (in Game One) but at times he's getting the rebounds, just like our bigs, and giving it right to me," Irving said. "Our dynamic all year and what we've created is we play off one another. Our bigs get the rebound and LeBron and I are sprinting to darn near halfcourt already, ready to get our offense started."
Shorthanded by Kevin Love's injury and J.R. Smith's two-game suspension, the Cavs found themselves in an early hole in Game One. Blatt said after Game One he would consider a change after the Cavs started Mike Miller and Iman Shumpert and kept Thompson in his regular sixth-man role.
"We have to be better at every point of the game," Blatt said.
Wednesday morning, James said he didn't know who would start Game Two but said "we are prepared."
Said Thompson: "I'm open to starting or coming off the bench...I'm always going to be ready. My job is to play hard and bring energy.
"We want to get LeBron out on the break. When we have Kyrie and LeBron out running, we are tough to guard."
Thompson started 15 regular season games, averaging 8.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. His playoff numbers through five games are slightly down from those, but Love's season-ending shoulder surgery changed everything for the Cavs -- and for Thompson.
"For me, it's (time to) turn it up another notch," Thompson said. "I have to try to get every offensive rebound. I need to make those guys on the other side uncomfortable."