Cool coach Lue has Cavs con­fi­dent ahead of Fi­nals

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - SPORTS -

Mo­ments af­ter the Eastern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship ban­ner was raised by the Cava­liers for the third straight time and the oblig­a­tory post-game in­ter­views ended, Ty­ronn Lue slipped qui­etly away.

Cleve­land’s coach ducked into the shad­ows, his pre­ferred lo­ca­tion.

“I don’t like the at­ten­tion,” he said.

But Lue, once a jour­ney­man point guard who steered the Cavs to an NBA cham­pi­onship last sea­son, has grown more ac­cept­ing of his role. He’ll again be cen­tre stage this week as Cleve­land meets Golden State in the third in­stall­ment of their ti­tle tril­ogy.

Of the many juicy sub­plots be­tween the Cavs and War­riors, one that fre­quently goes over­looked is Lue, the for­mer as­sis­tant who has blos­somed in no time into one of the league’s bright­est young head coaches.

He’s 28-6 in two post­sea­sons with Cleve­land.

“It’s just his level of calm­ness no mat­ter what’s go­ing on,” LeBron James said fol­low­ing prac­tice. “He al­ways talks about, at the end of the day, he’s al­ready won in life, so what­ever else hap­pens af­ter this is ex­tra credit. And I feel the same way. That’s why I re­late to him so much. Lose here, or you win a game here, it’s like, ‘All right, cool. I’ve al­ready done so much more than any­body ever gave me credit of do­ing or thought I can do, so there’s no rea­son to get too high or too low.’

Lue has been pre­par­ing for the biggest bat­tle of his bas­ket­ball ca­reer this week.

From the mo­ment he re­turned home from Bos­ton fol­low­ing the Cavs’ win in Game 5 of the con­fer­ence fi­nals, Lue has im­mersed him­self in the War­riors, a virtual All-Star team fea­tur­ing two league MVPs (Kevin Du­rant and Stephen Curry), a dead-eye shooter (Klay Thomp­son) and a triple-threat per­former (Dray­mond Green).

Lue’s strat­egy to this point in the play­offs has been to neu­tral­ize the op­po­nents’ top player.

Lue was asked if it’s more dif­fi­cult to iden­tify who that is on Golden State.

“Hell yeah,” he said, his voice ris­ing. “It’s tough.” Game 1 is on Thurs­day night in Oak­land.

Ty­ronn Lue

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