Key: Blue-Collar Big
Later this week, Tristan Thompson will return home to Toronto. But if he owns the boards like he did in Game 1, the locals might not be too happy to see him.
With his game-high 14 boards on Monday night, Tristan has grabbed double-digit boards in all five Playoff games – and of his 58 total rebounds, 29 of those have come off the offensive glass. In Game 1 – with his 14 boards and 11 points – Thompson posted his first double-double of the postseason and 13th of his career.
For the second straight game, he was off from the floor – going just 3-of-8 – but he was strong from the stripe, finishing 5-of-6. After his 0-for-3 showing from the stripe in Game 1 against Indy, Cleveland’s blue-collar big is 8-of-10 over his last four games.
The Raptors went small in the final three games against Milwaukee, but they went back to Thompson’s old adversary – Jonas Valanciunas – in the starting lineup for Game 1 of the East Semis. The Lithuanian big man played 21 quiet minutes, finishing with six points and six boards. Eventually, the Raptors did revert to their smaller lineup, taking advantage of a hot P.J. Tucker.
Valanciunas missed the first four games of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but was efficient in limited duty when he returned. But the Cavs kept a lid on him in four regular season meetings this year.