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Dave McMenamin @mcten
Tyronn Lue all but revealed that the Cavs will start Tristan Thompson in Game 2. He says they are “weighing it” but also cited advanced analytics that show just how well Thompson has guarded Al Horford over the years.
Thompson had eight points and 11 rebounds on 4-of-6 from the field during Sunday’s loss, while Kevin Love finished 5-of-14 from the floor. Although Love did score 17 points with eight rebounds, his 39.1 field-goal percentage in the playoffs has been a major disappointment.
The All-Star is averaging just 14.9 PPG during the postseason, although he explained that he is playing out of place.
“It’s been my whole career I’ve played at the 4,” he said after Game 1 of the second-round series against the Raptors, per Sam Amico of Amico Hoops. “I would say absolutely (I’m more comfortable at forward). But Ty sees something different and I think offensively, once I get myself going, we could use that to our advantage.”
While putting Thompson on the floor at center could allow Love to slide into the power forward spot, Lue has explained his preference.
“I like (Tristan’s) impact off the bench,” Lue said last series.
Thompson has only started one game this postseason, but he came through with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Game 7 win over the Pacers in Round 1.
There were few complaints about the lineup during the second-round sweep of Toronto, but an early 1-0 hole in the Eastern Conference finals has raised more questions.
Al Horford—who is averaging 17.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the postseason and had 20 points in Game 1—is a key to the Celtics’ offensive attack and one of the few veterans on the active roster. If Thompson can do a better job of limiting his production, the Cavs coaching staff has to strongly consider giving him more minutes.