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June 9, 2021

Tyronn Lue

Los Angeles, California, USA

Press Conference

Q. You mentioned something the other day in LA about Paul playing a lot more point guard and having Chauncey mentor him. Can you describe what that transition has been like for him and obviously the last week or so where he's had to carry such a huge load and play so many minutes?

TYRONN LUE: It's been great. I think at the beginning of the season, I think we had the opportunity to put the ball in PG's hands, to let him make plays and let him mistakes all season long as well as Kawhi. PI think all season long we've been just trying to get him to the place where he's at now of making the right play and making the right pass, making the right read, and Chauncey has been great for him all season, just showing him those things on film, showing him on the court what he's looking at, what the reads are, and PG has gotten way better throughout the course of the season, and so has Kawhi.

Q. It seems like that was a pretty big change from last year, like last year was sort of -- they were in more of a scoring role and this is Paul kind of being dubbed as more of a facilitator. Was that something you came into this year deciding to do?

TYRONN LUE: Yeah, I just think with your two primary scorers, they have to be able to make guys better. Those two guys can get their shot off on anybody at any time. This year both those guys have passed 10 percent more when they got into the paint, where last year they got right to their pull-up jump shots, and now we just talk about attacking the rim to make your teammates better, and both of those guys when they get into the paint this year have passed the ball 10 percent more when they got into the paint.

That's us growing as a team. That's Kawhi and PG recognizing what we needed to do as a team and making their teammates better. Very comfortable with those guys making plays.

Q. I wanted to ask, we got to see Pat Bev and DeMarcus play a little bit yesterday. Wanted to see what your assessment of their contributions was and whether you think we might see them some more.

TYRONN LUE: Yeah, you will see them some more. Game 1's I like to play a lot of guys to see who can play in the series and I knew coming in after a Game 7 with one day in between and a travel day and with the altitude that we had to play a lot of guys in that first half.

Everybody came off the bench and played a big role and played great. Some tough decisions to be made going into Game 2 tomorrow, but I did like what I saw from Pat and Boogie.

Q. From Boogie, he hadn't played the whole first round. You had mentioned that he was itching to play. How fired up was he for it? He definitely left his mark.

TYRONN LUE: Yeah, he was very fired up. Players want to play, and there's nothing wrong with that. Like I said, every time we've given him the opportunity to play in big games this season, he's produced.

We've got to find more minutes for him. It's just hard to play two centers off the bench when you start small, so that was the tough part about it. But I did like what he brought. Brought some toughness, brought some physicality, and we're going to need that this series.

Q. PG yesterday, he called himself indecisive with the ball. Kind of building off what you talked about, the question about knowing the right reads to do with the ball, he felt like he was indecisive, but when you have Rudy in there looming, I know he didn't have any points in the paint but he did draw four fouls on the way to the rim. What's the balance with a center like that, a shot blocker, of being aggressive and also just sort of feeling out the coverage and making the right read?

TYRONN LUE: I just think, like I say, you got to be able to read it. Be we talked about it going into the series. Rudy is the best rim protector in the league, I think he's the best pick-and-roll defender in the league, so we've got to be smart. We come off -- we can't get too deep in trying to do it through his chest. This is a different series than playing against Porzingis and Boban and those guys. So now we've got to adjust our game to play against the Utah Jazz.

When you come off and you're open, just shoot it. There's nothing to think about. We're not trying to make extra moves. Just come off, he's in a drop, shoot the basketball and be confident in his shot.

That's the big adjustment we can make as far as that.

Q. Is this series not so much get to the rim or die trying? That's what you said the first round. Not so much that strategy?

TYRONN LUE: Not right now. When we space Rudy out when we're small and we attack the small, small pick-and-rolls, now you get to the basket, it's easy to see the floor to make plays, but when Rudy is guarding you one-on-one or they switch or they veer, I think you've got to just take the shot. Just take the shot because you drive into the paint, they're fanning out so there's no alleys to pass the basketball, and Rudy is pretty good at the rim.

Just reading that situation, and like I said, we'll be better next game.

Q. We're going to need another 50 Cent album to describe this series at some point, but we'll let you get to that later. I wanted to bring up the fact that physicality came up a lot last night, both with you and everybody, the players that spoke. Normally when you don't have a lot of forced turnovers, you point to not having fouls, not putting them on the line and stuff like that, but foul trouble was an issue, especially in the second half, and there still weren't a lot of turnovers that the team forced against Utah's offense. How do you strike that balance of needing to pick up the kind of pressure that Utah kind of applied on you without getting guys eliminated because of foul trouble basically?

TYRONN LUE: Right, and to me it's more physicality I think on the offensive side, like with setting screens, holding our screens, I think I attacking those guys. I thought they did a good job of just getting into us, getting into our bodies, being physical, denying the next pass, getting up in the backcourt. We had two or three turnovers trying to inbound the basketball. You can't have that.

I just thought they tried to bring a physical game, tried to be physical with us, a physical presence, and we didn't meet that offensively as far as attacking, as far as owning our space. We've got to do a better job with that, and like I said, we've got to attack these guys and own our space and not go for all the -- whatever. Yeah, just be more physical.

Q. With this question obviously I'm not asking you to give away any of your adjustments, but in that first quarter when the Jazz missed 20 shots in there, they got no points in the paint, and then in that second half they were running downhill a lot more. After going through the film, what do you see in there that you can get back to defensively when you were so dominant in that stretch?

TYRONN LUE: I think Donovan in the second half, I thought he just put his head down and just attacked us. They got some switches, was able to get downhill, get to his right hand a lot. We didn't have low-man awareness. We wasn't near fast enough because you had Rudy Gobert there to dunk, so sometimes guys are afraid to leave his body because the lob will be there.

But we've got to do a great job of just shrinking the floor. We're going to switch to take them out of their continuity sets, and we've got to be ready to be in the shrinks and help the guys that's guarding the basketball and not just leave him on an island by himself.

Q. Donovan said after last night's game that he was kind of lazy in the first half defending Luke especially, and he really just seemed to maybe play more physical with him coming off screens and stuff like that. I know you talked about it a bit earlier, but was it more of what you guys did not handling the physicality as well or was it what they did eliminating him coming off screens and stuff like that?

TYRONN LUE: Well, I thought with Ingles trying to get into PG, I thought O'Neale trying to get into Kawhi, like I said, knowing we just came off a tough series, they tried to wear us down as best as possible, and they did a good job of that. In the second half I just felt like we didn't have a lot of pop and a lot of spunk.

We've got to just own our space. We can't get caught up in the referees and the officials. We've got to play through the contact, and we've got to be physical on the offensive end, getting to our spots, running our sets, getting our catches on the elbow, we're supposed to get elbow catches, things like that. I thought they did a good job of trying to disrupt that, so in Game 2 we've got to do a better job of owning our space.

Q. On the other end with Donovan, it looked like to start that third, he had a very Luka-esque kind of takeover where he was hitting step-back threes and that opened up the drives for him. Is there anything you could take away from that first series? I know they're different players, but in the way you defend those guys and how they play and open up their own game that you can apply to this series?

TYRONN LUE: Like I said, just shrinking the floor more, showing some different looks, different coverages. He made some step-back threes, like you said, but they're different players. He's a little bit more slippery. He can split pick-and-rolls, he can dribble around because of the speed. Once he gets into the paint he's very explosive. The low man has to be a little earlier outside the launching pad.

They're two guys that have the ball in their hands that kind of control the game and make plays for themselves and their teammates, but they're different players because Donovan is a little bit more shifty.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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