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Cavs 10-man playoff rotation set ahead of Indiana series

INDEPENDENCE, OHIO– Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue will use a 10-man playoff rotation, he confirmed on Thursday. But how exactly those lineups will work, however, we can’t be 100 percent sure.

“I’m not telling you,” he quipped when asked who would start Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers this Sunday in their opening round playoff series.

While Lue wouldn’t go into detail on Thursday, we do know of some players’ standings already.

Obviously LeBron James and Kevin Love will start, and Lue said last week he would start Jeff Green. George Hill will be the starting point guard, while Jose Calderon will see time off the bench to play alongside Jordan Clarkson, something Lue specifically mentioned on Thursday.

“We just want to make sure we have a point guard on the court with (Clarkson) knowing Cory Joseph picks up full court, and trying to disrupt the point guard on the opposing team,” Lue said. “So it’s very important we try to keep a point guard on the floor with him at all times.”

As for the fifth starting spot, it will either be Rodney Hood or Kyle Korver, who have both battled injuries in recent weeks. Lue said Korver, who has dealt with foot soreness, is “getting better,” and that Hood is “ready to go” for Sunday.

Lue has discussed JR Smith coming off the bench to provide a spark, so again, another safe bet. As for the 10th spot, it would appear that Larry Nance Jr. may be just above Tristan Thompson, considering Thompson played heavy minutes in the Cavs’ final game against the Knicks while Nance Jr. sat out most of the night with the main players. Although, to be fair, Lue said on Wednesday not to read Thompson playing as him being out of the rotation.

When it came to making decisions on who to play, Lue said it was a combination of matchups and who is playing well. Lue said he has already spoken with those players who are out of the rotation.

“It’s tough because we got 12 or 13 guys that showed this year that they can play,” Lue said. “You’re not going to be able to play that many guys in the playoffs and I’ve talked to the guys, they understand that and they just gotta be ready because you never know when you’re going to be called upon.”

Along with setting the rotation, Lue and assistant coach Mike Longabardi have been working on different defensive schemes for Indiana. Lue said that knowing how well the Philadelphia 76ers were playing, they were able to talk about different schemes over the last few days anticipating this specific matchup.

The Cavs are currently ranked 29th in the league in defense, and it has arguably been their biggest weakness this season. But don’t expect to see some complete overhaul of their defensive schemes. Lue said series to series, they will just try to take away what the opposition does best.

“It’s not really reinventing the wheel,” Lue said. “In the playoffs I just think you have to take away what a team does best. That’s what we thrive on doing around here, it’s just trying to take away what a team does best and make them do something different they’re not used to doing. So it’s not like we’re doing something special and so creative or we’ve got some brand new defense. We’ve done these things before, but each series is going to be different. We’re just gonna wanna take away whatever that team does best, we’re going to want to try to take it away and make them do something different.”

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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