Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said J.R. Smith will start Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers Thursday after injuring his left hamstring in the first half of Game 2.
Smith had been listed as questionable. The Cavs hold a 2-0 lead going into the 7 p.m. game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Lue said before the game that he wasn't sure if Smith would be under a minutes restriction. The Cavs waited to clarify Smith's status because they wanted to see how Smith came out of the morning shootaround.
Lue said Smith "looked good" in Wednesday's practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Smith's starting assignment means Iman Shumpert, who sparked the Cavs with his defense in the second half of Game 2 after Smith was injured, will go back to the bench.
But Lue indicated that Shumpert had earned playing time with his performance after sitting out Game 1.
Asked if he would talk to Shumpert about his role, Lue said at shootaround, "You always have to keep guys ready in the playoffs. You could play 30 seconds or 30 minutes and it could be the biggest 30 seconds you ever played. Shump is ready to go after not playing in Game 1. He’s earned himself to play a little bit more. Seeing it the other night was really good."