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June 17, 2021

Tyronn Lue

Los Angeles, California, USA

Press Conference

Q. We talked earlier in the season about what your peers thought of you as a coach. Paul George last night echoed his thoughts of you being even keeled and maintaining your poise and how that helps the team. With what's in the balance for your team with their next playoff win, what's your communication like to them to aid them in staying confident, even keeled and poised for this next round?

TYRONN LUE: Just staying focused on what we're trying to do, I think obviously on the game at hand, the task at hand, understanding what we're trying to do defensively, what we're trying to take away. Coming out of time-outs, the adjustments we're making to try to keep Donovan off balance as much as possible, and offensively just knowing how we want to attack this team.

We've think we've got the formula. We understand exactly what we're trying to do, and I give our guys credit. They're very focused and locked in, and each game we're getting better and better offensively and defensively on what we're trying to do and how we're trying to attack.

Q. Do you have any update on Kawhi kind of moving forward?

TYRONN LUE: No, I don't.

Q. Part of staying mentally tough is kind of going through the ups and downs of games and series and stuff like that, but I guess specifically in a game, when a team gets hot the way teams have gotten hot against you guys from three, how do you think you've weathered that, and what do you think has helped you guys kind of withstand some pretty hot shooting from teams?

TYRONN LUE: You know, I think because that stretch got down 10 points in that second quarter and we called a time-out, and PG came out and made a big three and we cut it to seven to kind of slow their momentum, which was a huge play for us. But I thought coming into halftime, only being down five after they made 17 threes, and I knew there was some things that we could correct and some fixable mistakes that we could take care of.

Being down five on the road and they made 17 threes, I knew we were in great shape. That's what I came and told our team at halftime; we've got to do some things better, we've got to do some things to limit Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson to get those guys inside the line, make it tougher. Right now they're just catching and shooting no matter what.

We made those few adjustments, and they went 3 for 24 in the second half, and offensively we understand what we want to do and how we want to attack, and our guys did a great job of that.

I think the thought about being mentally tough and being strong and just weathering that storm through parts of the game, Pat Beverley's defensive disruption that he had that last few minutes of the second quarter was huge for us, and then going into halftime only down five, I knew we were in a great position.

Q. Obviously a close-out game is just humongous and massive on its own, but I was wondering, do you guys recognize maybe the historical moment that could happen tomorrow night as far as this franchise has never gotten to the Western Conference Finals and this could be the first time ever? Does something like that weigh in at all?

TYRONN LUE: Not for me. I mean, I want to win a championship. That's my main focus. I know, like you said, the first time ever getting to the Western Conference Finals, of course guys are thinking about that, but I'm focused and my job is just to make sure we're focused on tomorrow night and that's it and try to take care of business.

We know it's going to be a tough game. Their backs are against the wall now, so they're going to come out and throw punches and do everything they can to try to win that game. We've just got to lock in and stay focused. I think our guys are focused on tomorrow night's game, and that's it.

Q. What about the possibility that you guys could be playing in front of a sold-out crowd for the first time at home tomorrow?

TYRONN LUE: Well, that would be great, just having our fans back in the building. I thought we were at a disadvantage in both series; in Dallas they had 17,000, Utah they've got a packed house, and we were only allowed 7,000.

Like I said, our team just being able to impact and playing through adversity all year, and they handled the crowds and the difference between those two places, Dallas and Utah, then coming back home, I thought they've been phenomenal. Having our fans back in the building tomorrow, I hope they're ready and rowdy and are ready to go.

Q. Reggie plays with such flair and seems to have so much fun and makes a point of that, he said. What does that do for a guy like Terance Mann or his guy Luke or the other guys around him? Does that kind of spread around?

TYRONN LUE: Did you say Reggie?

Q. Yeah, Reggie Jackson.

TYRONN LUE: Yeah, Reggie, he just enjoys the game. He loves to play. Number one team guy, always available and he loves the big moment and big stage, and we've seen that throughout the course of the Playoffs. We've seen it in big games this year, when Kawhi or PG was out, and like I said, he's been great for us. Him and Nic Batum this year, those two guys and the way they were playing for us, I don't know where we would be right now. Those guys with T-Mann and Luke Kennard, the development of those two guys. But Reggie, he loves to play. He enjoys the game. He has fun with it, and that's how you have to approach it.

Q. After last night's game, after getting a chance to watch it again, it was a new lineup and everything. What would you like to improve upon despite the fact that you're coming off a Game 5 win in Utah?

TYRONN LUE: I think the three-point shots, especially with Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson. We've got to do a great job of just trying to get those guys inside the three-point line and make them make decisions and make plays. We know they can catch-and-shoot, we know they can shoot off the dribble and shoot threes, but we want to get them playing inside the line, making those guys make decisions, make them pass, make them shoot and put the ball on the floor. We understand with Bogdanovic we can't -- try not to give him any catch-and-shoot threes, make him dribble the basketball. And same thing with Jordan; we know he's shifty. He has a great handle, but we've got to get into him and force him to drive and get him inside the three-point line.

Q. I know you said you didn't have an update on Kawhi, but is there any chance that he plays tomorrow or is he out?

TYRONN LUE: He's out.

Q. Just on Terance Mann, what's it been like just seeing him develop the entire year? It seemed like the drive he had on Gobert last night for the lay-up and the three-point play really energized him and you guys.

TYRONN LUE: It's been great to see. I mean, Terance, just who he is, he's a young kid and he's fast like a rabbit. He gets his work in. He's quiet. He understands his role. He does whatever you ask of him. Last year we had him playing the point guard, and this year throughout the course of the season he's played the 3, then we kind of moved him to the 4, and now he's playing the 5.

Just being a great team guy, just putting him on the floor he's going to make things happen. His energy, the way he plays, we need that. This team needs that spunk, they need that spark, and he gave us to us, like I said, in Game 5.

Q. Piggy-backing off the Terance Mann question, I know you've been preaching taking more of the outside shots, not challenging Gobert as much at the rim. When Terance drives like that, are you like, oh, maybe he should have taken that three, and then he throws it down and you're fine with it? What's the balance there between attacking Gobert and shooting that three?

TYRONN LUE: Well, at halftime I just told him, you've worked so hard to improve your shooting -- he shot 40 percent from three this year, and if they're going to put a 5 man on you and you're open, you've got to shoot the basketball. That's what you're out there for. Be confident. And I think in that third quarter he stepped back and hit a big three, I think at the top of that third quarter.

I just want him to play his game. If you're open, you've got to shoot the ball, don't hesitate, and that's what I told him. And attacking, getting to the basket, getting an and-one, another huge play for us, especially he just missed one in the corner and then he came back and drove it and got a three-point play.

Q. It sounds like they're going to be doubling PG more, the way they made it sound. Is that something you're kind of preparing for and I guess talking with the guys about --

TYRONN LUE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I hope they do.

Q. Given your success you had in Cleveland as well as a management group that also went through different adversities, how do you think those experiences shaped how you're managing the group this year?

TYRONN LUE: You know, I think it's different. It's definitely different. But our team I think with the adversity, it started this year. We had a lot of guys out and guys missed games, and we just found ways to win games. We plugged guys in at different positions, and I think it's actually helped us.

It's getting tough for me because I'm really an offensive guy that likes to try to pick you apart especially in the Playoffs, but when you're playing Nico at 5, you're playing T-Mann at 5 and Marcus Morris at 5, and you didn't get a lot of that during the season, it's just kind of tough to run plays.

We just pretty much have to put together what we can do, small packages, and just try to execute out of that, and our guys have done it for two series, and so I give those guys credit for that.

The difference in Cleveland, we didn't have LeBron go down like Kawhi went down, so we didn't have that issue, and it's just totally different. I just think in Cleveland we really leaned on our veteran guys a lot more. We had an older team. We leaned on our veteran guys a lot more. I think now you see like a Terance Mann, a Luke Kennard step up the way they have, it's a little different because we didn't have them guys when I was in Cleveland. We didn't have any draft picks.

It's just like the total team, they're just different. We've got older guys, we've got in-between guys, we've got young guys, and we're just all, as I said, playing together, being together. It's just one common goal, just trying to win, and we did the same thing in Cleveland, but the team there was totally different.

Q. Speaking about the game last night, what was the most impressive part about the resiliency that you showed on the court? And what would you like to maintain in Game 6?

TYRONN LUE: The resilience, I think we got down I think 10 or 12 and our guys kept fighting and competing. Like I said, coming out of that time-out, PG made a huge three to cut the lead from 10 to 7, and I thought we kind of got the momentum back after that.

When a team makes 17 threes, especially on their home floor in the first half, you don't expect to be down five points. Just got to halftime, talking to the team, just letting those guys know, we're in great shape. We've got to clean up a few things here and there, take away Bogdanovic's threes, take away Jordan Clarkson's threes, which we did that in the second half, and we was going to be fine.

Everybody was on board. We knew we had to do some things different and some things better, and then we just came out in the third quarter and we actually won the third quarter and executed the way we were supposed to.

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