(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/John E. Sokolowski)
Point Guard – Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
If this series gets back to Toronto for a Game 5, it will be because of Lowry because his backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan is a shell of the All-Star he was after his total breakdown in Game 3 in which he was benched for the final 14:16 of the game after going three for 12 and finishing with eight points.
Lowry was noble in defeat Saturday night, finishing with 27 points and seven assists while making four of eight from 3-point range and nine of 13 overall. He has shot 50 percent or better in all three games of this series, averaging 22.0 points and 8.3 assists while making ten of 20 from beyond the arc.
Alternate option: Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
Rozier finally cooled off from 3-point range in Game 4, hitting just two of eight, but he stayed within himself offensively and made seven of 15 shots. Rozier has averaged 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists in his last four games, and even with Saturday’s sub-par effort from beyond the arc, he has still made 18 of 34 from deep in that stretch. He has been a matchup problem throughout this series for Philadelphia and is shooting 54.1 percent (34 for 64) overall in those last four games.
Low-cost option: George Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors
Hill has quietly made solid contributions in the last two wins, reaching double figures in both, and had 12 points and two assists while hitting a pair of 3-pointers in Game 3. He is not the scorer nor distributor Lowry and Rozier are, but if you want maximum flexibility in trying to build a lineup with two stars, Hill is a safe option in a utility slot or at point guard.
Shooting guard - J. J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
76ers guard J. J. Redick may be the quietest 20-point scorer in these playoffs (20.1 ppg) as he enters this contest having made 37.7 percent (23 for 61) of his 3-point shots and 46.8 percent overall. He finished two points shy of his fifth consecutive 20-point effort Saturday and has knocked down 15 of 34 from beyond the arc in his last four games.
Alternate option: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
Brown likely will come off the bench again for the Celtics since no one wants to mess with a good thing. In the two games he has played since missing the series opener with a strained hamstring, Brown has totaled 29 points and 13 rebounds while hitting 11 of 24 shots in his two games since returning and is five for 11 from beyond the arc.
Overall, the second-year swingman is averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range and 46.6 percent overall.
Low-cost option: Kyle Korver, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors
The Cavaliers are 5-0 when Korver hits four or more 3-pointers, something he did in Saturday's victory as he finished four of six from deep and totaled 18 points. The veteran sharpshooter is connecting on 43.3 percent of his overall attempts from beyond the arc in this postseason and is 14 for 28 in his last four home games. If the Cavaliers get going downhill early in this game, Korver will be at the center of it.
Shooting guard - LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors
On whether to play LeBron James, match the language with the phrase as part of the worldwide chorus in response to the fact he now has two buzzer-beaters while averaging 34.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.8 assists while shooting 54.7 percent from the field:
Play him. (French)
Giocare a lui. (Spanish)
Spiel ihn. (English)
Jogue ele. (Chinese)
Alternate option: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
This space is slowly developing a man-crush on the third overall pick considering nothing has fazed him this season, from stepping into Gordon Hayward's starting spot in the second game of the season to Saturday's game in which he twice took the ball into the lane to challenge Joel Embiid with his team down four in overtime and scored both times to keep the Celtics in the game.
After Saturday's performance, he eclipsed Larry Legend's Celtics record (a.k.a. Larry Bird) with his fifth consecutive 20-point playoff game as a rookie and has averaged 24.3 points and 2.3 assists while making 26 of 47 shots.
Low-cost option: C. J. Miles, Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Given the Raptors will throw the kitchen sink at the Cavaliers in Game 4, there needs to be one unexpected source of offense to help them be competitive, and Miles is the best option of that bunch. He reached double figures Saturday for the first time since Game 2 against Washington and has been steady all postseason by scoring 9.2 points per game and shooting 44.2 percent from deep.
Power forward - Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors
For the second straight game, Cavaliers big man Kevin Love took what the Raptors defense gave him, and it resulted in another strong effort with 21 points and 16 rebounds. He has totaled 59 points and 40 rebounds in this series, has banished Raptors counterpart Serge Ibaka out of the starting five and is quietly making an impact from 3-point range by hitting 38.3 percent (17 for 43) of his shots there.
Alternate option: Al Horford, Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
Horford may give you something spectacular on some nights, but he will always bring the hard hat and lunch pail into the low post. He has averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in this series, which is right on line with his 2017/18 postseason marks of 17.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field.
Low-cost option: Marcus Morris, Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
The decision here comes down to Morris and Jeff Green because both players will see substantial minutes in the rotation of their respective teams. Morris endured a rough shooting day in Game 3, hitting three of 14 shots while finishing with nine points while Green went five for 12 and had 11. This is a six of one, half-dozen of another, so if you have a coin, flip it in the air or go with your gut.
Center - Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
If the 76ers are going to be swept out of this series, center Joel Embiid is going to go out on his shield. He has averaged 21.2 points and 14.0 rebounds while recording double-doubles in five straight postseason games and been every bit the player expected in his first playoff appearance.
The only thing Embiid does have to do is not settle for a fadeaway as much, and those numbers could climb even higher offensively after his 22-point effort in Game 3.
Alternate option: Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Valanciunas also has recorded five straight double-doubles, but his point total has dipped from 21 in Game 1 to 16 in Game 2 to ten in Game 3. The Raptors big man likely will make it six in a row, but knowing he will not be the dominant presence Embiid will be against Boston puts him behind the 76ers center on this pecking order.
Low-cost option: Ersan Ilyasova, Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
Say this for the 76ers backup center, Ilyasova is not shy about shooting. He had his best game of the series Saturday with 14 points and seven rebounds and finally ended a 3-point shooting funk by making a pair in five attempts. Ilyasova has averaged 9.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in the postseason, and with an all hands on deck Game 4 to avoid elimination, expect him to be similarly aggressive on offense Tuesday.
Who is in your lineup tonight? Comment below!
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?