Cavaliers' rotation and starting lineup against Pacers

Carrie Guzman
April 14, 2018

When the Cleveland Cavaliers open up the National Basketball Association playoffs with Game 1 of their first-round series with the Indiana Pacers on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC), the Cavs will play their first game with a completely healthy team since overhauling their roster at the trade deadline.

"I will play 10", Lue said after the Cavaliers watched film on the Pacers, who went 3-1 against Cleveland this season. The Celtics made enormous additions to their already great lineup, and Cleveland still had some guy named LeBron playing for them (for now).

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - With the playoffs just days away, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue typically would have his lineup rotations set by now.

The Pacers, who play like a team not a group of individuals who care more about a paycheck than winning games, will make this a series, unlike what George could do for IN a year ago.

LeBron James, Kevin Love, George Hill and Jeff Green have each been confirmed as starters, with the fifth spot going to either Rodney Hood or Kyle Korver, both of whom will play regardless of their starting status. Because of injuries and trades, Lue has been forced to shuffle his lineups all season, and the postseason will be no different. Following Wednesday's practice, Coach Lue still refused to name his starting five for Sunday's Game 1. "So it's not like we were doing something special or so creative or we got some brand-new defense".

One of the holdovers from Cleveland's past three Finals teams, Thompson played extended minutes in the second half of Wednesday's loss to NY while Nance rested, a sign that Lue might be leaning toward him playing more. Hood is bouncing back from an Achilles injury, while Korver is dealing with a sore foot, and whichever player doesn't start will join a bench featuring JR Smith, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Jose Calderon.

And defense is the Cavs' biggest focal point heading into the postseason after ranking 29th in defensive efficiency - allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions - during the regular season.

Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley's philosophy in the playoffs was: "You rotate eight players".

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The Cavs traded six players at the trade deadline.

I cannot say that history won't repeat itself, but the Pacers won't go out quietly, that I can assure you. "We just want to make sure that we have a point guard on the floor with him, knowing that Cory Joseph picks up full court and tries to disrupt the point guard on the opposing team".

Lue is also urging the Cavs' less experienced players to make their mark on the defensive end.

While I am not surprised by James' ability to get triple doubles as his game has evolved, it was definitely surprising to learn that he has never played all 82 games before. In the past three years, Toronto was swept by the Wizards, beaten by the Cavs, and swept by the Cavs.

Hill played on those Pacers teams that were eliminated in three straight postseasons by James and the Miami Heat.

It's hard to imagine this being a total Cavaliers romp, not against an IN team that has surprised all year with its resilience.

That can't happen this time.

He led the Pacers in rebounding playing off the bench, making us wonder if he is the center of the future. "So I'm very excited about that". Bogdanovic is no slouch and is having a career year. "So, I'm happy to be on the other side".

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