CLEVELAND: Alonzo Gee will start at small forward tonight for the Cavaliers, replacing Earl Clark.
Clark averaged 4 points and 3.8 rebounds through the first six games and was shooting 30 percent. He gave the Cavs length on the perimeter defensively, but Gee is considered the better defender. Coach Mike Brown said after Friday's loss at Philadelphia he was considering shaking up the lineup in search of a spark.
Gee is averaging 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds and is actually averaging more minutes off the bench than Clark was as a starter. Gee started all 82 games last season at small forward and has 113 starts there over the last two years.
Clark is learning a new position this season after spending the bulk of his first three years in the league as a power forward. He said before tonight's game he thought he was playing well everywhere except shooting.
"I'm just trying to figure it out," Clark said. "Obviously I have to make shots, but I think other than that I've been doing good with the minutes I'm playing. Playing defense, rebounding, moving the ball, just trying to do what Coach wants me to do. I think I do that well besides missing a few shots."
Clark has struggled figuring out when to chase rebounds and when to get back in transition, plus he said he's shooting from new spots on the floor this season than what he's used to.
"In this system, the 3 man has a flow to the game," he said. "Kickouts, end of the shot clock or sometimes I get it running the floor, whereas at the 4 I was able to pop. I could shoot the 15-footer excellent."
Brown has consistently played a 10-man rotation through the first week, but Clark's minutes could be sliced dramatically. Brown acknowledged before the game he is considering giving rookie Sergey Karasev more minutes, but wouldn't commit to anything.
This isn't the end of the lineup changes. Brown reiterated before the game his long-term goal is to return Andrew Bynum to the starting lineup. Ideally, the Cavs would have a few practices before changing the starting lineup, but the schedule just doesn't afford them that luxury right now.
"We just don’t have time right now," Brown said. "As crazy as this sounds, our practices are in the game. You can walk through and script so many things a ton. Until you get out there and you’re getting hit and the action is real fast and all that other stuff, whether it’s a live drill in practice or out in a game, you don’t know the true feeling of what you need to be able to do to execute certain actions."