Kevin Durant doesn’t have to play in the Warriors Game 3 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night. The Warriors are up 2-0 as the series shifts to Portland and are 1-0 without Durant in the lineup so far this series.
However, the question remains, when will Durant be back?
This is where Lue sees Smith potentially making a difference as the Cavs, despite their somewhat uninspiring start in this series, push for a 3-0 lead.
Defensively, just challenge Paul George, make his offensive life miserable, just make his offensive life hard and compete, Lue said. He’s going to make some shots — and some tough shots, at that. But just make him work. For everything he gets, no easy baskets, not falling asleep and losing him in transition and just bringing that defensive intensity and tenacity that he brought in Game 1.
Smith will be appearing in his 93rd career playoff game. He has been part of Cavaliers teams that reached the past two NBA Finals and won the championship in 2016. Lue said he had not yet been informed whether Smith will have any minutes restriction for this game.
Turning point: The fourth-quarter eruptions by Millsap and Schroder stand out, especially the big 3-pointers Schroder drilled when his primary defender dared him to shoot by going under ball screens. But it was what the Hawks did when Schroder was out that allowed him to play the part of the hero later in the game.