VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
BOX/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Cavs G's Smith, Hill horrible in Game 2

CLEVELAND (AP) J.R. Smith reached out, placed his hands on Al Horford's back and shoved Boston's big man out of bounds.

Advertisement

It was the only time Smith was on target.

Smith's shoddy performance in Game 2 - he missed all seven shots and committed a flagrant 1 foul in 27 forgettable minutes - underscored a startling disparity between Cleveland's and Boston's starting backcourts that allowed the fearless Celtics to withstand a brilliant, 42-point effort by LeBron James and take a 2-0 series lead.

Smith and point guard George Hill were outscored 41-3 by Boston's Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who were faster, hungrier and maybe tougher.

''I don't think tougher,'' Smith said afterward, showing better defensive instincts than during the game. ''They made shots, we missed shots at the end of the day. We had some good looks, they didn't fall. For them playing on their home court, they fell. It's a matter for us to bounce back, go home, try and get (win) two, even the series up and come back here.''

Smith will not be further punished by the NBA for his aggressive foul on Horford, who was in the air when he got pushed and could have been seriously hurt.

Thanks to the league's odd scheduling, Game 3 is not until Saturday, giving Cavs coach Tyronn Lue plenty of time to consider tweaks to his starting lineup and rotations. After a 25-point lambasting in the opener, Lue altered his frontcourt by putting Tristan Thompson with the first five and bringing Kyle Korver off the bench.

The moves worked as Thompson provided needed energy and Korver knocked down four 3-pointers and had Boston's defense focused on more than James.

Now, Lue has to ponder another shake-up.

One option is to re-insert Korver at small forward, sit Hill and slide James to the point, where he typically plays anyway but where he'll be more susceptible to double teams and will have to work harder than he is already.

Another possibility is to drop Smith, who is 2 of 16 from the field and missed all seven 3-pointers, from the starting lineup, but that would be risky because of his mercurial nature. Sit him and risk never getting him back.

Lue is willing to live with Smith's streakiness - he went 6 for 6 in Game 4 against the Raptors - but what he can't afford are the defensive lapses that led to slow rotations and gave Rozier and others wide-open looks in Game 2. Smith has been locked in defensively throughout the postseason, so Lue is assuming he'll get it together.

Lue's decision not to play guard Jordan Clarkson for a single minute in Game 2 was curious, mostly because Clarkson is quick enough to handle Rozier and he scored 10 points in Game 1.

Veteran Jose Calderon appears to be out of consideration despite his steadiness and experience. Lue may fear the 36-year-old will be targeted and exposed defensively.

Of course, there's irony in Cleveland having backcourt issues in this series.

A year ago, Kyrie Irving averaged 25.8 points in the Cavs' five-game rampage over the Celtics in the conference finals. Now an injured Irving sits on Boston's bench in street clothes unable to help his new teammates while his presence teases the Cavaliers, who have not adequately replaced the All-Star since trading him.

They are finding life in the playoffs is more difficult without Irving, who at times carried Cleveland's offense, giving James a break and Lue a dependable second scoring option.

It's easy to second-guess the decisions now, but it feels as if the Cavs' trades of Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade at the deadline were hasty. Cleveland lacks enough playmakers capable of creating their own shot or opportunities for others.

Hill has been unusually passive in the first two games, and the Cavs need to get him going.

And they certainly need more from Smith, whose frustration surfaced at the worst possible time when his hard foul on Horford riled up the Celtics and their rowdy crowd.

As the referees reviewed the play, Boston fans chanted profanely at Smith, who smirked and later said the taunts didn't bother him.

''I love it,'' he said. ''I don't want the opposing fans to like me. That's not why I'm here. They can chant and scream all they want. It actually makes me feel better about myself. They know me.''

The Cavs know him better, and they need Smith to be himself.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
· Mejia: Wednesday's Essentials
· Akins: Hoop Trends - Wednesday
· Sportsbetting.ag: Wednesday's Best Bet
· Bookmaker: Wednesday's Top Wager
· BetDSI: Wednesday's Top Action
· News: Win Total Betting Update
· Conley says Grizzlies may trade him
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
5-0 L4 Days, +1,315 Net Profits TY
3-0 L3, 20-10 Run, 4-0 Totals
20-9 L29 Guarantees, +1,435 TY
13-3 Last 16 NBA Selections
3-1 G-Plays, 34-18 Totals, +2,739
6-0 L6 Over/Under Plays
3-1 L4 Picks, +2,290 This Year
3-0 L3 Guarantees, 4-1 L3 Days
3-1 LN, 13-6 L19 Over/Unders
6 Straight NBA Winners
5-2 Picks, 14-7 Totals ,+1,229 TY
9-5 L5 Days, 38-18 L56 G-Plays
6-3 L9 Picks, +1,221 Overall TY
7-3 L10 Picks, +1,196 This Season
3-0 L2 Days, 5-2 G-Plays, 3-0 Totals
7-2 Record L9 Selections
8-4 L12 Guaranteed Plays
10-4 L14 Totals, 11-5 L16 Picks
4-1 Record Last 5 Days
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz
2018 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 2739
Doc's Sports + 2290
Stephen Nover + 1435
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 501
Antony Dinero + 460
NeiltheGreek + 450
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Stephen Nover 59 %
Doc's Sports 59 %
Kyle Hunter 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 1416
Joe Nelson + 1100
Bruce Marshall + 771
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 1585
John Fisher + 835
The Gold Sheet + 724
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The Gold Sheet + 1463
Jimmy Boyd + 1207
Micah Roberts + 948
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership