CLEVELAND (AP) -Maybe it's time to go back to Larry Hughes.
Daniel Gibson finally replaced the injured point guard in the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup Tuesday night, then delivered a performance as bad as any of those from the struggling Hughes.
The rookie was 1-for-10 in his first career playoff start, scoring only two points in the Cavaliers' 75-72 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA finals.
But even though he was on the floor at the beginning, Gibson was back on the bench by the fourth quarter. Coach Mike Brown went with veteran Eric Snow for most of the final period when the Cavs were desperately fighting to come back.
And now it probably won't matter what lineup Brown goes with the rest of the way. No NBA team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit.
Gibson got back on the floor at the end - but that's only because Drew Gooden fouled out, not because he had earned the minutes.
Hobbled by a sore foot since midway through the Eastern Conference finals, Hughes was horrible in the two losses in San Antonio, scoring two total points on 1-of-10 shooting. But Brown had refused to consider a lineup change, even as Gibson had emerged as Cleveland's best perimeter complement to LeBron James.
Gibson scored a career-best 31 points in the Game 6 victory over Detroit that sent the Cavs to their first NBA finals appearance, then averaged 15.5 points in San Antonio, not far from where he played in college for Texas.
Brown wouldn't make the switch, and Gibson and Hughes, who has plantar fasciitis and a tear in his foot, both said it wasn't necessary. But Brown finally made the move Tuesday, giving Gibson his first postseason start with Hughes not even dressing for the game.
Fans loved the choice, chanting ``Boobie!'' when Gibson was shown on the overhead screen during warmups.
Too bad for those fans he gave them nothing to cheer about once the game started.
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