INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – With just about a week until the Cleveland Cavaliers begin the regular season against the Boston Celtics, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue named Dwyane Wade his fifth and final starter for opening night.
Wade will join a starting lineup of Derrick Rose at point guard, LeBron James at small forward, Jae Crowder at the 4 and Kevin Love at the 5 as the Cavs start their campaign hoping to avenge a loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in June.
James, sidelined since the second day of training camp with a sprained left ankle, will join the rest of the starters back on the court for the Cavs’ final two preseason games Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls and Friday against the Orlando Magic to practice the lineup before the curtain comes up on the season and they have to face Kyrie Irving and the Celtics.
At times last season, Lue would have Irving play a similar role by starting at point guard, coming out of the game with around four minutes remaining in the first quarter and then coming back in at point guard with the second unit to start the second quarter.
Wade had opened up training camp playing a heavy dose of backup point guard in practice, but evidently Lue found Rose better suited for that role.
In the limited action both players have seen this preseason, Wade outperformed Smith.
Wade is averaging 13.5 points on 61.9 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in two preseason games; Smith is averaging 5.0 points on 30.8 percent shooting, 1.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Lue’s lineup appears to skew to offensively, but James sees potential in the defense Cleveland can get out of its starters.