The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 2-0 in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors. Game 3 is essentially a must-win for them.
No NBA team in the entire history of the league has ever come back to win a series after being down 3-0. The Cavs need to try something different to try to pull off a win in front of their home fans and keep the series somewhat suspenseful.
A key strategic decision Tyronn Lue is going to make revolves around Rodney Hood, who has not played very much thus far these playoffs.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN has an interesting story about how Lue is planning to adjust his rotation for game 3 and give Hood more minutes.
Hood started game 1 of the first round against the Indiana Pacers but has only played an average of 13.8 minutes per game in these playoffs, which ranks just 10th on the team.
The outside shooting just hasn’t been there for Hood this postseason. He’s shooting only 15% from 3-point range in these playoffs after shooting 38.1% from 3-point range during the regular season.
Hood was acquired by the Cavs back in early February from the Utah Jazz in the same trade that also brought George Hill to the team.
Hood made headlines back in the Eastern Conference semifinals when he refused to enter game 4 against the Toronto Raptors during a blowout Cavs lead.
This move is clearly an indictment on the shooting guard play the Cavs have gotten from guys like J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson through the first two games of this series.
Smith’s mental blunder at the end of game 1 overshadows the other problems he has caused on the court thus far for the Cavs. He has shot just 5-19 from the field combined in games 1 and 2. Clarkson has not been much better. He has shot just 3-13 from the field combined in games 1 and 2.
It’s a low bar that has been set for Hood, who will have the benefit of playing at home for these expanded minutes. Role players tend to play better at home than on the road. Using that logic, it also wouldn’t be a shock if a guy like Smith or Clarkson broke out of their shooting slump in game 3.
The uninspired play of Smith and Clarkson has forced Lue to turn to Hood for increased production on the offensive end. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a difference he makes.