Basketball

Cavs may start Shumpert to slow down Durant and Curry

Cleveland coach set to replace the ineffective Smith with Shumpert

NBA FINALS, GAME THREECLEVELAND CAVALIERS GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

The Cleveland Cavaliers, down 2-0 after blowout losses to the Golden State Warriors, may switch up their starting line-up for Game Three of the NBA Finals.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is considering starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert in place of JR Smith in the backcourt for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) game in Cleveland, according to ESPN.

Shumpert experienced cramping in the second half of the Cavs' 132-113 Game Two loss on Sunday and required intravenous fluids after the game, a team source told ESPN.

Shumpert finished with six points, four rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes off the bench, shooting only 1-of-6 from the field.

They have a lot of guys who are great passers, so you got to be alert at all times. Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on Golden State Warriors

But the Cavs may go with Shumpert in the starting line-up because of his defence in trying to slow down Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

On Sunday, Curry and Durant teamed up to get the Warriors within two victories of another championship.

Curry recorded his first career post-season triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Durant - seeking his first ring - had 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.

Smith has been a non-factor in the two losses with just three points on 1-of-4 shooting in 28 minutes in Game One and had zero points in Game Two on 0-of-2 shooting and four fouls in 14 minutes.

Lue said the Cavaliers must improve their defence to have a chance in Game Three.

"Having awareness, can't relax, can't fall asleep," Lue said after Sunday's loss.

"This team, their offence 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."

The Cavaliers are running out of time to prove their NBA Finals rivals aren't invincible.

The Warriors are on an NBA record 14-game play-off winning streak and no team have ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a play-off series.

"We have to defend our home court," said Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.

"It definitely is a must-win."

Golden State could become the first NBA team to make an unbeaten play-off run to the crown, having swept Portland, Utah and San Antonio and overpowered the Cavaliers twice at home to open the Finals.

"We're going to go home and watch the film to see ways we can be better," James said.

"Do things, I don't want to say differently because you work so hard to get to this point, but make a couple of changes to see if we can be a lot better defensively and offensively."

- WIRE SERVICES

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