CLEVELAND - As it turns out, the reinsertion of J.R. Smith at shooting guard isn't the only change in the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup for the team's Tuesday night tip-off with the Chicago Bulls. According to head coach Tyronn Lue, Tristant Thompson will start at center in a move that will make LeBron James the Cavs' starting point guard.
According to Lue, the decision to start Thompson for the first time this season is based on the personnel of the Bulls, specifically, center Robin Lopez. Through two games, the 7-footer leads Chicago in scoring with 17 points per game.
After starting 78 regular season games in the 2016-17 campaign, Thompson had come off the bench in Cleveland's first three games of this season as Lue opted to start Kevin Love at center. But with Dwyane Wade now moving to the bench, the need for Love's spacing has lessened, allowing Lue to reinsert Thompson for defensive purposes while sliding Love back to his natural position of power forward.
James' shift to point guard, meanwhile, comes as Derrick Rose continues from an ankle injury suffered in Cleveland's Friday night victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. In the Cavs' Saturday night loss to the Orlando Magic, Rose's one-game replacement, Jose Calderon, scored 2 points and committed 2 turnovers in 13-plus minutes of action.
James, who leads the Cavs' in assists with 6.3 per game this season, previously started at point guard throughout his rookie season in 2003-04.
The Cavs and Bulls will tip-off at Quicken Loans Arena at 7 p.m. You can follow along at our live blog here and join the conversation Twitter using the hashtag #3Cavs.
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