There are times in a playoff series where it becomes obvious that a coach is trying to throw whatever they can at the wall and see if it sticks out of desperation. At this point, it’s becoming fairly clear that Tyronn Lue is at this stage of the Cavaliers’ first round series with the Pacers.
The Cavs currently find themselves in the unenviable position of being down to the lower-seeded Pacers 2-1 with Indiana having a Game 4 at home coming Sunday night. Cleveland’s one win came on the heels of an all-out LeBron blitz to open Game 2 and the case can be made that barring Pacers head coach inexplicably playing star guard Victor Oladipo only 28 minutes, the Cavaliers might be facing an elimination game on Sunday.
On Sunday morning Lue, clearly out of answers, announced he is willing to embrace a familiar face in order to shake the Cavaliers out of their malaise – Tristan Thompson. Thompson, who’s played all of two minutes all series is expected by Lue to bring toughness along with rebounding, something the Cavaliers head coach think the team lacks at the moment.
Lue has yet to figure out the right lineup formula to put out on the floor around LeBron James against this Indiana squad. The earlier experiment of playing Jeff Green heavy minutes has not worked and unless Lue figures out a legitimate counter to what the Pacers have done, they’ll hand the LeBron James something he’s never had in his career: a first round exit from the playoffs.
It will be quite interesting to see how Thompson responds to his first serious action in this series, but if he can be engaged and battle Myles Turner and company on the glass it’s possible he could be a positive factor. If not and he’s just taking up space and clogging up the lane further on offense, the Cavs will continue to be in trouble.