Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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J.R. Smith will do most of the heavy lifting tonight for the Cleveland Cavaliers as he attempts to check Houston’s James Harden, but he will have some help.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters during his pregame press conference Jeff Green will also play in a big part of attempting to help contain Harden.
Green played 37 minutes off the bench in the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 9, playing center and guarding Houston big man Clint Capela. When Capela and Harden worked the pick-and-roll, Green switched onto Harden.
While Harden posted a triple-double in that 117-113 Rockets win, he shot just 8-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-15 in the second half. Harden finished with 35 points, 11 boards and 13 dimes.
“When he came in it changed our team defensively,” Lue said. “Putting him on Capela and playing Jeff at the five and switching him on to Harden, he did a good job of staying in front of him and containing him. (Harden) made some tough shots, but Jeff contested his step-back 3s and cut his penetration off. We will look to do that again tonight. But I think the biggest thing is defensively, he really did a good job.”
Rose back in bloom?
Lue said he also needs to find more minutes for backup point guard Derrick Rose, who has played only 14 minutes combined in the last two games for the Cavaliers.
“We were going to get him in there when Kevin (Love) went down so we talked about it as coaches that we have to get him more minutes on the floor,” Lue said. “(I) think he adds a different dimension to our team.
“Offensively, being able to push the basketball, getting into the paint, getting to the free-throw line. We have to do a better job with that.”