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Cavs to change rotation, give more minutes to Rodney Hood

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CLEVELAND -- Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says he will switch up his rotation in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday by giving minutes to seldom-used wing Rodney Hood against the Golden State Warriors.

"We're going to give Rodney a chance," Lue said Tuesday. "He'll get a shot, and see how he does. He's been working, staying ready. So we'll see."

Hood was the Cavs' starting shooting guard in their playoff opener -- a 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers -- and has seen his role diminish dramatically since then, going from a bench player to receiving six DNP-CDs in Cleveland's past 10 games.

"I don't know when it's going to come or what stage of the game, but just being ready," Hood said Tuesday. "I've been preparing, I've been working hard, so if I get the opportunity, just go out there and play. Just have fun."

Hood, a rangy 6-foot-8, 206-pound player acquired from the Utah Jazz in February in the Jae Crowder trade, is averaging 4.4 points on 41.8 percent shooting (15.0 percent from 3), 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in the playoffs.

He had much more success during the regular season for the Cavs, including a seven-game stretch from late March through early April when Hood averaged 13.9 points on 49.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3 with 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game. In those seven games, Cleveland went 6-1.

Hood didn't do himself any favors by refusing to enter the Cavs' Game 4 blowout win over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but Lue has given Hood several opportunities since then.

While his playing time has been sporadic, the fourth-year veteran says he has stayed locked in with the help of encouragement from the Cavs coaches, his teammates as well as his former Jazz teammates, most notably Joe Johnson, who found himself in a similar situation biding his time on the Houston Rockets' bench as they made a deep postseason run.

"Just a lot of positive, my teammates have been real positive with me, just telling me to stay ready," Hood said. "The coaching staff as well. Other guys around the league been talking to me, sending me messages and just telling me to stay ready, and if my number is called just play and have fun, don't put too much pressure on myself."

Count Cavs forward Kevin Love in that group, as he sees Hood's versatility as a potential asset in trying to contend with Golden State's Kevin Durant.

"He's very talented," Love said of Hood. "He's a guy that can step in and fill up a scoreboard. Left-handed. A little bit unorthodox in the way that he plays. Just having that height on him and that wingspan, and the ability to not only make shots, but on the defensive end to switch out. Also play a guy like KD at his size and just make it tough on both ends of the floor for their team. That gives all of us a lot of confidence that he can come in and make an impact."

Hood played against the Warriors in the playoffs last spring as a member of the Jazz and shot just 1-for-15 from 3 in the series. This season, before being traded to Cleveland, he had a strong game against Golden State, with 26 points on 9-for-20 shooting (2-for-5 from 3), five rebounds and three steals on Dec. 27.

Hood said Lue's marching orders is to focus on what he can bring defensively to this series with the Cavs trailing 2-0.

"They put you in a lot of mismatch situations, and I'm a guy who can guard 1 through 4, really one through 5 with their group," Hood said. "And just try to cause havoc. Just try and be physical, I think that's the biggest thing T-Lue's been stressing to me once I got there."