Baskin: Ty Lue Must Bench J.R. Smith

Lue has "stuck to his guns" on Smith all season, Andy Baskin said, and it's "the most frustrating thing to watch"

Taz and the Moose
June 04, 2018 - 10:03 am

USA Today Images


The Cleveland Cavaliers had a chance to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In fact, one could argue that they should have won Game 1 of the NBA Finals. 

No such chance was afforded Sunday in Game 2.

The Cavs trailed Golden State by 13 at halftime and lost 122-103. They now trail the Warriors 0-2 for the third straight NBA Finals.

“They’re just getting outplayed, especially last night,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan host Andy Baskin said on Taz & The Moose. “For the first game, it was all about refereeing at the end of the game – from a fan perspective. You still can’t put yourself in a spot to lose and let referees decide the game at the end of the game. Last night, they just got outplayed.”

The Cavs had no answer for Steph Curry, who hit a Finals-record nine threes and scored a game-high 33 points. Golden State shot 57.3 percent from the floor (47-of-82), while the Cavs shot 41.1 (37-of-90).

“The Warriors came out with a good game plan, and they never let the foot off the pedal,” Baskin said. “While the Cavs got back in it a couple times, you just never had that feeling the Cavs were going to be able to come back.”

After erupting for 51 points in Game 1, LeBron James was more of a facilitator in Game 2. He finished with 29 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds and two steals.

“I think LeBron played a little bit tired last night,” Baskin said. “To me, especially (in) the middle of the game, he really looked like he was dragging a little bit. But you can’t sit here and complain about the refs today. They got beat (by 19).”

Taz & Moose wonder if Ty Lue should extend minutes for Kyle Korver and Rodney Hood in Game 3.

“I think he should extend minutes for anybody other than J.R. Smith,” Baskin said. “I don’t know where J.R. is, and when J.R.’s cold, you got to sit him.” 

Smith shot 3-of-10 in Game 1 and 2-of-9 in Game 2. He is averaging 7.5 points on 26.3 percent shooting in the Finals. That’s actually an improvement from the conference finals, where he averaged 6.1 points on 25.9 percent shooting.

“Ty has stuck to his guns all season long with J.R., and it is the most frustrating thing to watch,” Baskin said. “I understand that Ty has a lot of respect for J.R. and believes that J.R. can help his team win games, but he’s not. He’s not helping. He’s got to get him off the floor quicker. He’s got to figure out something different with the rotation.”

Baskin would like to see Jose Calderon play more. He had four points, two rebounds and an assist in three minutes in Game 2.

“He might be a little bit old,” Baskin said of the 36-year-old, “but he makes things happen and he’s hungry every time he’s on the floor.”

Cleveland’s roller-coaster season will continue in Game 3 on Wednesday. Which Cavs team shows up remains to be seen.

“They’ve been up and they’ve been down,” Baskin said. “They’ve won games like they’ve played in Game 1, and they’ve had games like Game 2 where they just get blown off the floor – and last night they got blown off the floor. When Steph Curry is hitting shots from Sacramento, you know you’re in trouble.”