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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson started Game 2 against Chicago, a move that put LeBron James back at his customary small forward position.
Thompson started 15 games during the regular season, but 6-foot-8 big man has been most effective coming off the bench with Cleveland's second unit.
Thompson had eight rebounds in 37 minutes in the first game. The Cavs are missing starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, facing the prospect of losing two games at home to start the series.
Thompson's addition to the starting lineup allows James to get out on the perimeter, where he is more dangerous offensively. James expects to be more aggressive and "sharper" in Game 2.
"Well, we get our 3 man (small forward) back," guard Kyrie Irving said about Thompson starting. "It was great seeing 'Bron at the 4 (power forward), but at times he's getting the ball, just like our bigs, and he's giving it right to me and our dynamic throughout the entire year and what we've created is we play off one and other."
Coach David Blatt started Mike Miller in Game 1, but the 15-year veteran had trouble guarding Mike Duleavy, who scored 13 points in the first quarter as Chicago opened a 16-point lead.
"We're facing uncharted waters," Blatt said before Game 2. "Our lineup changed drastically in a number of days. That doesn't mean we can't win."