Thompson refutes Cavs' reported 'finger-pointing'

Don McCormack

TristanThompson will be back at the position he played when the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the city's 52-year championship drought in the spring of 2016.

As the Cavaliers' starting center.

Cleveland coach TyronnLue announced Thompson would replace struggling JaeCrowder in the Cavaliers' starting lineup, with All-Star KevinLove, who has started most of this season at center for the team, shifting back to his power-forward slot.

The Cavaliers (27-19) host the Indiana Pacers (26-22) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Indiana has won all three games against Cleveland this season.

For his part, Thompson, who began the season as a backup in the post, then returned to the starting lineup for five games before straining his left calf and missed 20 games, returned to action in mid-December.

On the season, he is averaging 5.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 60.9 percent from the free-throw line in 19.1 minutes per game.

The Cavaliers are just 1-4 in the five games the 26-year-old Thompson has started. Taking it even further, Cleveland is just 10-16 in games in which Thompson has played.

The 6-foot-9, 238-pound Thompson said he would "bring energy, play hard, set screens," as a member of Cleveland's starting lineup, which is the makeup of his game.

He made it a point to address the reportedly tumultuous team meeting the Cavaliers had before practice Monday in Independence.

"Finger-pointing? Just because y'all are reporting everything doesn't mean that's facts, unless someone was in there snitching," Thompson said. "But I wouldn't say it's finger-pointing. I think we all have to be better. Everyone has to look in the mirror and be 1 percent better for the team. That will help us out a lot."

The University of Texas product and former fourth overall draft selection in 2011 said camaraderie is not nearly as important as the bottom line -- wins and losses.

"I mean, you go to work every day, and you might not like a guy," the seven-year pro said. "You might not like the guy you work with. So it's part of life, but at the end of the day when we're between these lines, we got to play for one another and that's all that matters. I don't care if X don't like X off the court.

"I really don't give a (crap). As long as you're on the court playing hard and playing for each other, that's all that matters to me. We don't got to talk to each other off the court. As long as we talk on the court, on the defensive end, that's all that matters to me."

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