Can Cavs make up for Thompson's absence with Frye's shooting?


BOSTON – When the news spread that Tristan Thompson (thumb) was out for the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, there was an immediate collective sigh of relief in Celtics Nation.
Thompson’s strength – rebounding the hell out of the basketball – has been Boston’s weakness.
So, taking him out of the mix is a good thing for the Celtics, right?
Not necessarily.
The Cavaliers are like most teams in the NBA from the standpoint that they love to play with pace and space, which allows their bevvy of 3-point shooters to be more effective.
One of the ways you can combat that, is to tilt, double-team and rotate defensively to the shooters.
And the player you can play off to do this?
That would be Thompson.
So in his absence, the Cavaliers will likely start Channing Frye, which means Cleveland will open the game with a floor full of shooters which means opportunities to double team players, really won’t exist.
And remember, the Cavs come into tonight’s game among the NBA’s best when it comes to 3-point shooting.
How good have they been?
They rank second in the league in 3-pointers made per game (13.0), 3-pointers attempted (33.6) and maybe most significant, 3-point shooting (38.8 percent).
However, Boston counters with arguably the best trio of perimeter defenders in Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder.
They form the nucleus of a Celtics defense which has limited opponents this season to shooting 33.4 percent on 3’s this season, which puts Boston as the second-stingiest 3-point defensive team in the league.
So, the Cavs will play to their strength offensively, which just so happens to be against arguably Boston’s greatest strength on defense. And with Thompson out, rebounding in this game becomes much more of a toss-up.
Get your popcorn ready. This is going to be a good one!

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