After two straight losses, the Cleveland Cavaliers have decided it is time for a change. Cavaliers coach Tyron Lue plans to add guard/forward Rodney Hood to the rotation and increase his minutes.
On Sunday, the Cavaliers lost by 19 points to the Golden State Warriors. They lost 122-103.
The Warriors crushed the Cavaliers' hopes of winning one of the first two games in Oakland by winning both games and taking a 2-0 lead. While the second game was an "easier" win for the Warriors, their first win was more difficult. Their win over the Cavs came in overtime.
In Game 1, the Cavs and Warriors went into overtime. The Cavs had an opportunity to take the lead, but they didn’t capitalize. George Hill was sent to the free-throw line with seconds remaining in regulation. Hill made the first free-throw but missed the second. The Cavs gained possession of the miss and J.R Smith had the ball. Rather than attempt a shot, Smith ran behind the three-point line and let the time run out. The game was tied and the buzzer rang. The Cavs and Warriors were going to overtime. Smith's mistake was the topic of social media over the weekend. There were memes, tweets, and videos of the mishap. The mistake was crucial and may or may not have caused the Cavaliers to lose. However, both J.R Smith and also the Cavaliers are capable of bouncing back from the mistake. There is an entire series to be played. Even though the Cavs also lost Game 2.
With the series going back to Cleveland, the Cavaliers must make adjustments. They are down 0-2, but if this series is like their Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics, they could tie the series at home. Their first adjustment would be Rodney Hood.
According to ESPN, Tyron Lue is switching up the rotation by adding Rodney Hood.
"We're going to give Rodney a chance," Lue said Tuesday. "He'll get a shot, and see how he does. He's been working, staying ready. So we'll see."
Initially, Rodney Hood was the Cavs' starting shooting guard at the beginning of the playoffs. He started in their playoff opener against the Indiana Pacers, which the Cavs lost.
Since then, Hood's minutes have decreased drastically. He has either not played at all, or he has played at the end of blowouts. This is commonly referred to as "garbage time".
Hood's minutes were decreasing beforehand, but Hood's refusal to go into a game could be a factor in his role diminishing more. In the second round, Lue told Rodney Hood to check in during one of the blowout games against the Raptors. But Hood refused to check in. Cedi Osman received more minutes than Hood in that game. Hood and Osman play the same position. Hood's refusal could have been due to Osman receiving more minutes, but at this point, it's both speculation and "old news". When Hood refused to check-in, Jose Calderon ran to the scorer's table instead.
Now, Rodney Hood has a chance to get his minutes back and contribute to the Cavs.
According to ESPN, Hood has this to say about his increased minutes.
"I don't know when it's going to come or what stage of the game, but just being ready," Hood said Tuesday. "I've been preparing, I've been working hard, so if I get the opportunity, just go out there and play. Just have fun."
LeBron James has played well during the first two NBA Finals games. In Game 1, he had 51 and in Game 2 he had 29. Kevin Love has had double-doubles in both games. Both James and Love are doing their parts, but the Cavaliers are having trouble with (consistent) offense from other players. The addition of Hood could provide the Cavaliers with a much-needed spark offensively. If the Cavs want to win, they need all the offense that they can get.
The series continues later today. The Warriors are looking to take a commanding 3-0 over the Cavaliers, but the Cavs have other plans. If the Cavs win tonight, they could potentially get back in the series. If not, the Warriors will try to finish the series early. As a fan, I am not ready for the NBA season to be over yet. I hope that the Cavs fight their way back into the series and we have a competitive six or seven game series. Fingers crossed!