PHOENIX – With the Cavaliers mired in a two-game losing streak, dropping their record to just 6-6 since February’s trade deadline, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue decided to shake up his team again by bringing JR Smith off the bench against the Suns on Tuesday and starting Kyle Korver in his place.
“I just felt like it,” Lue said when asked about the timing of his decision to bench Smith.
Korver scored 22 points, going 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and Smith had 14 points in 22 minutes off the bench to help the Cavs win 129-107.
Lue said that Smith played “Pretty good” off the bench against the Suns and detailed what he expect from Smith going forward.
Despite Smith averaging just 8.3 points on 39 percent shooting overall and 36.2 percent from the 3 line, Lue stood by the 14-year veteran, telling reporters last month that Smith earned that faith, in part, because of his role in helping the Cavs capture the 2016 NBA championship.
Smith is coming off a 1 for 7 shooting night in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, scoring just three points in 23 minutes.
Smith said his scoring in the starting lineup came more in the flow of the offense, rather than featured sets.
Smith didn’t know if the change was a direct reaction to his poor night against the Lakers.