Cavs Might Start Tristan Thompson In Game 2 To Shut Down Celtics’ Al Horford

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Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson

Photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers might need to switch things up for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Enter… Tristan Thompson?

The Cavs center played just 21 minutes in his team’s 108-83 Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday, racking up eight points and 11 rebounds off the bench. But with the Cavs potentially facing a 2-0 series deficit, head coach Tyronn Lue is considering inserting Thompson into the starting lineup in an attempt to neutralize Boston’s Al Horford.

Check out this tweet from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

Now, we have no idea exactly which analytics Lue might be using. But Thompson has played extremely well against the Celtics in the past, so giving him more minutes might be a smart move for Cleveland.

It’s a small sample size, but in three games this season against Cleveland, Horford’s offensive rating dropped to 92.4 points per 100 possessions with Thompson on the court, from 109.5 with Thompson on the bench. (Horford posted an offensive rating of 108.2 this season overall.) He was also far less effective on the offensive glass, more likely to turn the ball over and his effective field goal percentage dropped nearly 30 percentage points, to 38.9 percent from 65.4 percent.

Of course, none of it will matter if LeBron James fails to show up Wednesday night.

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