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With The Big Three having been whittled to The Big Two, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue realizes he needs at least one on the floor at all times.
In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston on Tuesday night, however, neither LeBron James nor Kevin Love was on the floor to begin the third quarter.
After getting blitzed by 14 points in the third quarter, which the Cavaliers entered leading by eight only to end it trailing by seven, Lue’s lineup to begin the final quarter was George Hill, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr.
When asked why he went without both his All-Stars to start the fourth quarter, with his team down seven points in the game and staring an 0-2 deficit in the series in the face, Lue wouldn’t answer.
“I’m not going to tell you that,” Lue said. “Something happened but we’ll be better at it next time.”
Perhaps Lue figured he could steal a few minutes of rest for James and Love after what the lineup with which he started the fourth quarter performance early in the second quarter. In that stretch, behind six of their seven points from Korver, the Cavaliers actually extended their advantage by a point.
It didn’t happen, though, as Boston quickly upped its advantage to double figures, prompting Lue to call on James.
However, the damage was done and the Cavaliers were never ale to really threaten the Celtics the rest of the way.
“I wanted to start Bron, but he said he needed a rest so it kind of messed our rotation up a little bit,” Lue said. “I wanted to play him the first two or three minutes in that fourth quarter and get Kevin back and give (James) a rest but he said he needed a break.”
Lue realizes more than anyone a better Plan B must be formulated in regards to keeping either James or Love on the floor at all times while the outcome is in the balance.
“We usually try to stagger them but the game kind of got away from us a little bit,” Lue said.