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J.R. Smith back in Cavs’ lineup for Game 3; defense main focus

Among the first questions asked of Cavaliers coach Ty Lue in advance of Thursday night’s NBA playoff game against the Pacers was a simple one: Will J.R. Smith start tonight?

And Lue gave a simple answer: Yes.

Smith had lasted only 18 minutes of Monday’s Game 2 in this first-round series before leaving for good with a hamstring issue. He was only 1 of 3 from the field in that game and scored three points, well off his season average of 8.6 points per game. In his absence, the Pacers rallied from 18 points down at the start of the fourth quarter to trail by as few as four points with 19 seconds left. Perimeter players Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Jeff Teague combined for 19 of Indiana’s 33 fourth-quarter points.

There is no consensus that the answer to that question is Game 3.

Durant is listed as questionable heading into Saturday’s game, and from interviews Friday, it doesn’t appear he is in any rush to get back.

Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds in the Warriors’ 121-109 Game 1 win over the Blazers, but without Durant in Game 2 the Warriors defeated Portland, 110-81.

The Warriors don’t necessarily need him right now, but for a player who averages Cheap NFL Jerseys more than 28 points per game in his career in the playoffs, they certainly want him back.

Again though, there is no rush, and Durant is just trying to get as healthy as he can before the Warriors face the winner of the Clippers/Jazz series that Los Angeles currently leads 2-1.

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