Jason Miller/Getty Images
After playing him a grand total of two minutes in the first three games, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue told reporters Tristan Thompson will see increased playing time off the bench in Sunday’s Game 4 matchup against the Indiana Pacers.
Thompson, 27, averaged 20.2 minutes per game during the regular season but has been jettisoned from the rotation during the playoffs as the Cavs have gone small. Cleveland will continue to start Kevin Love at center but may wind up giving minutes that previously belonged to Jeff Green to Thompson.
Green has made just three of his 16 shots through the first four games and scored eight total points.
“It’s been tough so far, but I trust Double T,” Lue told reporters Friday. “I’ve been through a lot with him. He’s a big part of what we’ve done the last three years, the fourth year now. I really trust him.”
The Cavaliers’ problem, surprisingly, has not been defense in this series. They’ve held Indiana below 100 points in all three games during the series, a surprise given the Cavs’ sieve-like defense throughout the regular season. Only the Pacers and Golden State Warriors have a better defensive rating during the postseason, per NBA.com.
Cleveland’s main issue has been seeing literally anyone but LeBron James put the ball through the basket. The Cavs have been the worst offensive team of the playoffs so far, with James’ supporting cast shrinking like cooked spinach.
Love (14.3 PPG) is the only player other than James scoring in double figures. Thompson isn’t likely to help the scoring punch much, but it appears Lue is trying to shuffle around some deck chairs and see if something sticks.