Larry Nance, Jr. has only received limited playing time in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. Luckily, everything changed in Game 3 where Nance, Jr. was given the opportunity to help the Cavaliers grab their first win of the series. In 21 minutes on the floor, the 25-year-old center/power forward established an impressive performance on both ends, and filled the stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 4-of-4 shooting from the field.
Unlike when they played against the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors, Larry Nance, Jr. believes he can contribute more in the Cavs-Celtics best-of-seven series. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Nance, Jr. is hoping his Game 3 performance will convince the Cavaliers coaching staff to give him more playing time in their upcoming games.
"A series like this, where they play a lot of bigs, they'll go Morris, [Al] Horford, [Aron] Baynes and [Greg] Monroe, they have a lot of their big guys and they're super athletic, so if there's two things that I fit well against, it's athleticism and playing big," Nance, Jr. said. "Hopefully, the coaching staff sees and deems it that I get more minutes."Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue has noticed what Larry Nance, Jr. can contribute in their matchup against the Celtics. Lue praised Nance, Jr. for being able to guard multiple positions. His ability to dominate under the basket forced the Celtics to focus their defense on him which resulted in Cavs sharpshooters J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver getting open looks from beyond the arc. Lue didn't give assurance about additional playing time for Nance, Jr., but will see to it that the young power forward will be the court in Game 4.
Another young Cavs player who left a good impression in Game 3 is Jordan Clarkson. After receiving a DNP-CD treatment in Game 2, Clarkson scored nine points in 18 minutes on the floor. Despite only shooting 3-of-11 from the field, Lue commended Clarkson's confidence and aggressiveness throughout the game. However, he advised him to be smarter on which shots he takes.
Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. are both aware that LeBron James cannot carry the team alone in their series against the Celtics. That is why they are trying to do their best to ease the load on James' shoulders, despite mostly coming off the bench. If Clarkson, Nance, Jr., and the other Cavaliers' players show a better performance in the upcoming games, Cleveland is expected to come back in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Cavaliers and the Celtics will be Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.