The Cavs have now evened out the first-round series with the Pacers. The win was basically won by LeBron all his own, who totaled 46 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Unfortunately, you can’t really give credit to anyone else for the Cavs, especially since the Pacers had a chance to tie the game up at the end, despite LeBron’s performance and a big lead early on. I know a win is a win, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome.
After watching two games of the Cavs in the playoffs now, the biggest thing that stood out to me was the inability of the new guys to step up. Of the players we received at the trade deadline, they totaled only 15 points in Game 2, even though we won and finished with 100 points. When it comes to the playoffs, I think it is crucial to have experience. Other than LeBron and Kevin Love, JR and Tristan Thompson have the most playoff experience with the Cavs. JR has been getting a decent amount of playing time and has stepped up on offense in Game 1 and defense in Game 2. Now, I think it’s time to give Thompson some minutes.
Obviously, this season has not been Thompson’s best season and you could say he’s going through a lot lately at home. However, I think Ty Lue should give him some minutes. We gave Thompson a huge contract because we thought he was worth it, so let’s make him earn that big paycheck.
When Thompson is in the game, he might not add a whole lot of offensive help, but he adds a solid defensive presence. Myles Turner is one of the Pacers’ main guys and he has been playing well so far. We have Love guarding him who isn’t known to be a great defender of big men. Love got pretty banged up last game and I think part of it has to do with how hard he is trying to work in the post on defense. If we put Thompson in for a little bit to add a post presence, that could allow Love to be more dominant on offense. Some might say that we should put in Kendrick Perkins so he can rough people up, but he was wearing a suit last game and roughing guys up is basically all that is left to his game. At least with Thompson, he still has some offensive skill and is a great rebounder.
The team that we have around LeBron has a lot of talent, but they seem to be a little shaky and they have trouble putting it all together as a team. It is too late to be testing things out to try and figure it out. This is where you go back to experience and give Thompson some minutes. Like I said, let’s make him earn his big paycheck.