NBA Finals Game 3: Iman Shumpert replacing ‘disappointing’ J.R. Smith as Cavs starting SG

PHOTOGRAPH: Erik Drost/Flickr | Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers

J.R. Smith is almost nonexistent in the first two games of third NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As the series shift to Cleveland, the Cavaliers reportedly plan to replace Smith with Iman Shumpert as their starting shooting guard.

The Cavaliers suffered another blowout loss in Game 2 of the NBA Finals 2017 against the Warriors despite an impressive performance from their “Big Three.” J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson failed to provide the needed help to their team, netting a plus-minus of minus-18. If nothing is done, the Warriors may end up having a 16-0 postseason record and win the 2017 NBA championship title.

NBA Finals Game 3: Cavs using Iman Shumpert as starting SG

Their recent loss gave them an idea on how they can perform better in the upcoming games. In Game 3, Iman Shumpert earned praise for his attack mentality and on-ball defense against Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, Shumpert suffered cramping in the second half that required intravenous fluids after the game.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN revealed that the Cavaliers will consider having a lineup change in Game 3. They plan to replace J.R. Smith with Shumpert as their starting shooting guard. Smith has been a big disappointment in the first two games. In Game 1, he only had three points on 1-for-4 shooting in 28 minutes.

The Cavaliers urged him to improve his performance in Game 2. Unfortunately, instead of getting better, Smith’s performance got worse and finished with zero points on 0-for-2 shooting and four fouls in 14 minutes. His recent performance was very different in the last year’s Finals where his presence was felt on both ends of the floor.

Since recovering from an injury, Smith is yet to regain his shooting touch and confidence. In the NBA Playoffs 2017, he’s currently averaging 5.9 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.

NBA Finals Game 3: Coach Tyronn Lue urges Cavs to improve defense

The addition of Kevin Durant tremendously improves the Warriors’ offense. They are almost unstoppable in the first two games which resulted to blowout wins against the Cavaliers. Coach Tyronn Lue believes that improving their defense is the only way to strengthen their chance in Game 3.

“I think that having awareness, can’t relax, can’t fall asleep,” Lue said. “This team, their offense is constant movement, so you got to be locked in. You can’t take a peek somewhere else and lose your man. So they make you pay. And they have a lot of guys who are great passers, so you got to be alert at all times.”

Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Flickr

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