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June 8, 2016

Tyronn Lue

Cleveland, Ohio: Game Three

Cleveland - 120, Golden State - 90

Q. Coach, nice homecoming. What a difference a couple days make. Really an avalanche tonight. You spoke pregame about getting off to a strong, confident early start, 9-0, 21-6. Can you talk about how that developed and how you prepare for Game 4 to get off to the same successful start?
TYRONN LUE: I just think it's two words, physicality and aggressiveness. I thought we were very physical defensively, and I thought we were aggressive offensively, attacking the basket, getting out in transition, running the floor. We talked about it before, that opens up shots for J.R. Smith and those guys in transition. So that's how we have to play.

Q. If Kevin is able to go in Game 4, how would you expect to use him?
TYRONN LUE: Do I have to tell you?

Q. That's up to you.
TYRONN LUE: I'm not going to tell you.

Q. When you lose two games by 48 points, what are the next couple days in terms of weighing radical changes and sticking with what got you to this point?
TYRONN LUE: The only change is just playing hard. I think competing for 48 minutes. They're a tough team. They work the basketball so you've got to defend for 24 seconds. They'll burn you with the last two seconds on the shot clock, so you've got to be prepared and always being aware. And I thought our physicality and our attention to detail was really great tonight, and I thought with Kyrie setting the tone early offensively, really gave us confidence early.

Q. You mentioned physicality. Tristan Thompson seemed to have that right from the get-go. What kind of bellwether is he for your team in those kind of areas?
TYRONN LUE: Well, he's the heart and soul of our team. His toughness, his versatility defensively, his offensive rebounding ability. And he just puts a lot of pressure on teams, especially if they're going to go small, we keep Tristan on the floor, he should be able to [out]rebound most guys. He did that tonight, and he brought a lot of energy and a lot of toughness.

Q. Even in the two games that you guys lost, you were able to hold Klay and Steph to regular type of performances, and then you do this again in Game 3. What do you attribute that success? Not many teams have been able to hold them down for three straight games like that.
TYRONN LUE: To the players, just being aware. You know, never relaxing because they're constantly moving. And the players have done a great job of doing that. Some other guys have been open because of that, but I thought our team has done a great job of just being aware where Steph and Klay are, and also never relaxing.

Q. How much of a difference tonight was LeBron being in the post? It seemed he took over a little more of the ball-handling as well. Just his effort on Draymond tonight?
TYRONN LUE: Well, we talked about effort for the last two days, just being aggressive, playing hard, the physicality, and we brought that. When we play that way, we're tough to beat. And we know we're not satisfied with one game. We know Friday we have to play even better. But I think the guys are ready for that.

So having LeBron on the post, having LeBron handle the ball has always been good for us. He did a good job in the second half of really taking care of the basketball and making the right play.

Q. Did you change things defensively tonight? Because it didn't look like you were switching as much.
TYRONN LUE: I forgot. I forgot.

Q. You forgot? That's a bad memory.
TYRONN LUE: Yeah, yeah (laughing). I forgot. I forgot.

Q. You mentioned effort, talking about the last couple days, aggressiveness several times. We know your guys want to win NBA Finals games. Why are they coming with a different level of effort or aggressiveness finally now in Game 3 versus Game 1 and 2?
TYRONN LUE: I thought Game 2 we had it to start the game. But when they hit you with a barrage of shots and they go on a 15-2 run or 11-0 run, it kind of deflates you. When the crowd's into the game -- it's tough because you play hard. You play defense for 19 seconds and the last five seconds of the shot clock they score, so it deflates you.

I thought tonight even when they made runs, we kept our composure. We stayed with it, we stayed physical, we continued to play hard, and we didn't let it deflate us.

Q. The narrative of second-unit contribution kind of evaporates. It was like 30-15 tonight. It doesn't matter when you get that kind of play out of your starting lineup. Would you speak about the balance of those two? How much it does matter? And also could you critique a little bit, Richard Jefferson and his contributions tonight?
TYRONN LUE: Well, I think the bench, it depends on how many minutes they get, you know. In this type of game where it's Game 3 when we had to play well, their minutes were sporadic, and there's not really a constant flow to their minutes because you have to get guys back in the game to do whatever you can to win this Game 3.

So I thought our bench came in and gave us great defensive effort. I thought they knew the coverages. I thought they played hard. They competed, and that's all we can ask from those guys.

Putting Richard Jefferson in the starting lineup, I just think he gave us speed. I thought he gave us the physicality on Harrison Barnes, and that we were able to slide LeBron over to Draymond Green, which helped us out a lot. We were able to switch pick-and-rolls and things like that. So just being able to get up the floor offensively, pushing the ball, pushing the tempo, and RJ's aggressiveness on the defensive end.

Q. Coach, you've talked repeatedly about the importance of Kyrie Irving being aggressive, taking his opportunities. Obviously he had some struggles through the first couple of games and you talked about feeling comfortable with his isolation play. What did you see that was different tonight that enabled him to be aggressive right from the get-go and establish that tone you discussed?
TYRONN LUE: He attacked early. We got the ball up the floor with great pace. He was able to attack in transition. And even versus the switches he really attacked quicker so they couldn't load up on him. So he really attacked quick, and got downhill and got into the paint.

I told you, no one can stop Kyrie one-on-one when he has the basketball. We just have to attack quicker and keep them on their heels.

Q. In Game 1 you had the lead in the third quarter. They went on a run. You couldn't stop it. Game 2 early you had the lead, they went on a run, you couldn't stop it. Today you had the lead, they went on a run and you were able to control it. How much did you talk about that the last few days and why were you able to control it tonight?
TYRONN LUE: We talked about that a lot. When they make shots, when they start making threes and they're getting dunks in transition, it deflates you. But I thought tonight with us having a 20-point lead in the first half, when they scored, we were able to get timeouts, calm our guys down, and we were able to get baskets when we needed them. And I thought the guys just kept attacking all night. We never settled and kept being aggressive and keeping them on their heels.

Q. A follow-up with J.R.: What's it mean when he's making shots like that and how important is it to this team if you're going to win a championship?
TYRONN LUE: It means a lot. When he's making those threes and making those shots, it really opens up the paint for LeBron and Kyrie and Kevin and those guys to have space around the rim. If we play fast and play with a pace, he can get out in transition and get those threes, because when LeBron's driving the basketball, two or three guys have to stop him or he's going to get a layup. If not, if they do help, they'll be kicking out to J.R. for shots. Same for Kyrie. When he's in transition, guys have to load up to him and J.R.'s going to be open for shots, so that's what we did tonight.

Q. It seemed like the Warriors were overplaying you in the first two games with the three. I saw a lot more back cuts and things, slip the picks and slip the screens and stuff like that. Was that something you emphasized to try to reduce their overplay, maybe open up some spacing on the floor as you did?
TYRONN LUE: Yes, we worked on that the last couple days, just moving, trying to create some confusion. If they're going to switch it or not, and it would give our guys a chance to drive the basketball at the same time.

Q. Tyronn, you mentioned Kyrie's scoring, but when he has eight assists, what does that do for your offense?
TYRONN LUE: It opens it up even more. When he's scoring at a high clip the way he did tonight and then when he gets to the paint and guys are helping, he's making the right play and the extra pass, then we're going to get any shot we want. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense along with LeBron of getting to the basket. If teams are going to play him one-on-one and not going to help with the basket, he's going to score. If they step up and help, we made the right play tonight and made the right extra pass.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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