After the Cavs' debacle against the Orlando Magic on Saturday and less-than-stellar performances in the first two games of the season, the team finally made the inevitable change everyone knew was coming. Yesterday, Dwyane Wade announced that he’d prefer to come off the bench, moving JR Smith back to the starting two guard spot. This made sense on all sorts of levels, including providing more shooting for LeBron James and giving Wade a chance to act as a playmaker with the second unit.

But that wasn’t the only change to the starting lineup. Instead of going with journeyman Jose Calderon to start the game against the Bulls, Tyronn Lue chose to play James at point guard and put Tristan Thompson back in at starting center.

This collection of players works, because it allows Kevin Love to hunt for perimeter shots, Tristan Thompson to protect the rim, and Jae Crowder to defend the wing and knock down open looks.

However, even with the changes to the Cleveland starting lineup, Chicago shot out of the gate to a 38-28 lead, but the Cavs cut the deficit to three points by halftime and down to one before the start of the fourth quarter. An early Cavs run got them the lead, which they never relinquished after that.

Game MVP

LeBron James gave the Cleveland crowd a bit of a scare in the second quarter when he tweaked his ankle, but like he so often does, he tightened up his laces and continued to dominate. The superlatives describing his game are endless, but his 34 points and 13 assists are just part of the story.

The floor game he displays night after night puts players in the right position for easy shots, and his relentless attack wears down the opponent. In a league going nuts for the Greek Freak, James remains atop the NBA throne.

Rest of the Cavs' starters

The two new starters, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson, didn't exactly light it up, combining for just eight points, but their presence opened up spacing for both Kevin Love (20 points) and Jae Crowder (11 points).

Both were able to camp out behind the arc and shoot 3-7 from three-point range.

Cavs' bench

The early returns from bringing Dwyane Wade off the bench were phenomenal. Not only did Wade have his highest scoring game as a Cavalier with 11 points, but two other bench players also scored in double digits. Jeff Green had 16 points on 4-6 from the field, while Kyle Korver chipped in 11 points, hitting three three-pointers.

Final thoughts

Rather than the starting lineup, the more interesting aspect will be which five Cavs players finish close games over the course of the season. The problem lies in that Cleveland has veteran players with big egos who are past their prime or have deficiencies on the offensive/defensive side of the court. The top two-way players are James, Crowder, and Smith. From there, Love and Isaiah Thomas (currently injured) are the best offensive weapons, while Thompson and Iman Shumpert are the defensive stalwarts.

In addition to two of the players above, that leaves Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose on the bench when it matters. Thomas, Wade, and Rose are all free agents after this year, and while they want to win, they also want to play and get paid this off-season. This combustible situation will be simmering underneath the surface all year long.