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May 16, 2017

Tyronn Lue

Boston, Massachusetts: Practice Day

Q. Apparently you were on the coaching staff of the last team to beat a LeBron team in the Playoffs at all. It was Boston in 2010.
TYRONN LUE: I don't remember that.

Q. You don't remember that?

Q. Do you ever think back to the Eastern Finals when you were with Doc [Rivers] against LeBron and the Heat and what LeBron did in that series, Game 6?
TYRONN LUE: Yeah. You know, we had the momentum. Coming back home up 3-2, having a chance to close them out. Played a great series. We thought we had a chance to win that series, and LeBron came in and had 45 points. I think he made six threes, and he was determined that he wasn't going to let his team lose, and he had a great game, and then went to Miami Game 7, and they closed us out.

Q. How much does all that crowd and that Celtic mystique and all that help them?
TYRONN LUE: Oh, the crowd is great. They have an unbelievable crowd, just as we do. We're used to that kind of environment because we get the same kind of crowd here. They feed off their crowd. They feed off their energy. Man, I mean, their crowd is amazing.

Q. Is that Celtic history really ingrained in the players there when you're part of that franchise?
TYRONN LUE: Oh, for sure, just the winning tradition of Boston in general, with the Patriots, with the Red Sox, with the Celtics. They just have a winning tradition in Boston, just with all sports, and they love their sports. They're great fans. The team there appreciates it, and I had a chance to experience some of that when I was there.

Q. Back in 2015 when you guys beat the Celtics in the first round, what did you make of their team then, and did you see them as an up and coming challenger in the East?
TYRONN LUE: Oh, for sure. I knew coach [Brad] Stevens did a great job even then, and I knew they're just going to get older, they're going to get better. He's had a chance to put his stamp on that team, and they've gotten better and better each year, and they have a chance to play in the Eastern Conference Finals with a chance of making it to The Finals. That's all you can ask for is growth every single year, and that's what they've gotten.

Q. You said your only concern was like the first six minutes. Is that pretty much the same now? Do you just worry about that first wave through the game after a long layoff?
TYRONN LUE: Well, it's different because we're starting on the road now, and usually when we've been having these Playoffs we've been having home court, and our fans have gotten us through that, and now it's going to be a little different of having to adjust and play on the road and carrying our own weight. Our fans are not going to be behind us to start the game, so we're going to have to bring our own energy, which I think we will, and I think we'll be fine.

Q. Do you have a read of the room? I know it changes series to series. Obviously they seem eager to get back to playing other people. Are you about in that same place, as well?
TYRONN LUE: I mean, it's time. You know, we've gotten here faster than Boston did, but they scratched and clawed their way. That just shows the team that they had all season. They play hard, they scrap, they compete, and they made their way here. That's just who they are, and they wouldn't take it any other way. Just knowing some of their coaches on the coaching staff, they liked the way they did it, and now we're both here, and it's time, and they're pretty excited, and I know we're excited as well.

Q. With everything that happened a couple years ago between [Kelly] Olynyk and Kevin [Love] and Olynyk and [Kelly] Oubre the last round and then Zaza and Kawhi in the other series, do you almost expect that there's going to be some sort of issue between these two teams in this series?
TYRONN LUE: I'm just happy to be here.

Q. The way Olynyk lifted his game last night, had you seen something like that when you were studying -- I think it was a playoff high.
TYRONN LUE: Yeah, he played well. I thought he took advantage of his match-ups. I thought Coach Stevens did a good job of putting him in position to take advantage of his match-ups, and he played well. I thought when they were struggling to score the basketball, I thought he really came in and gave them a great lift. I thought playmaking, making threes, making plays off the dribble, and even in the post, so he did it all. He had a great game, and he's a big reason why they're playing the Eastern Conference Finals.

Q. What can going on the road do to break up this long layoff that you've had?
TYRONN LUE: I don't know. We'll see.

Q. Is there anything that you've seen over the last couple days that tell you your guys are ready to go?
TYRONN LUE: It's the Eastern Conference Finals. We'd better be ready. What more motivation? One more step towards our goal, and we know we have to play well to beat this team, so we know if we win four more games, we'll be back in The Finals. That's all the motivation we need, and that's all it should be.

Q. Do you expect this game to be different from when you were up there in late April and really handled them well?
TYRONN LUE: Well, they understand the same thing we understand, that four more games and they could be in The Finals if they win four more games. Everything is on the line right now. They understand that. We understand that. They'll pull out all the stops, and we understand that. So we've got to be ready for their best shot, and they have to be ready for our, also.

Q. The other day Kevin's offense, his production was on mute. Do you consider this a more favorable matchup than Toronto was for him?
TYRONN LUE: Well, I'm just saying, LeBron has been playing at such a high level, why would you go away from that? Let's ride it while he's been playing great. Kevin understands that, Kyrie understands that, all the guys understand it. They do a better job of getting Kevin involved, getting him more touches, but LeBron is playing at such a high level, it's kind of hard to go away from that. We're just all about winning, and in order to win you've got to sacrifice, and our coaching staff, our players, we all understand you've got to sacrifice, and it's all about winning.

Q. You accumulated a fair amount of playoff experience the last three years. Your team has accumulated more. I'm just curious how important is that postseason experience when you get this deep into the Playoffs?
TYRONN LUE: I don't know.

Q. To know that these situations -- it's either win or go home?
TYRONN LUE: I mean, I never really believed in that. If you've got a great team, I think you're going to play well. I'm not sure about the experience. If you have a great team, you know, you're going to be productive. My first year, Kevin and Kyrie didn't have any experience, and we went to The Finals. It was about how well put together your team is, and you've got to give credit to [Owner] Dan Gilbert and [General Manager] David Griffin who have done a good job of putting this team together, and this is about the players you have on the team and how good they are, and then how well you handled situations.

I mean, the experience is good, but it's all about how good your team is.

Q. That [2012] Conference Finals, do you think that was a turning point in LeBron's career?
TYRONN LUE: What do you mean?

Q. Just not being able to beat Boston and then leading the Heat back the way he did in that Game 6. Boston has never beaten them since. No one has beaten them in the East since.
TYRONN LUE: Now you brought it to my attention, yeah, I would say that.

Q. At the time did you feel that way?
TYRONN LUE: I never even thought about it, but yeah, it makes sense.

Q. What did you do last night after the game ended? Did you do any additional --
TYRONN LUE: Yeah, I packed, and I've been game planning for both teams, so I pretty much had everything done for both teams. Packed, relaxed, didn't do much after that.

Q. The first two series you've given J.R. [Smith] the defensive assignment against Paul George, DeMar DeRozan. Do you rethink giving him the best offensive assignment because it's a point guard instead of a wing, or do you feel comfortable with J.R. matching up against a point guard?
TYRONN LUE: Not the start. Yeah, not to start. He won't be on Isaiah [Thomas] to start. He'll get a chance maybe, but we'll see how it goes.

Q. What's the difference that you see with J.R. defending wings versus guards?
TYRONN LUE: It's a different guard. I don't really want to get into it, but it's a different guard for him. I like Shump [Iman Shumpert] on the point guards more than I do J.R., so it's a different guard for him, a lot to ask from him. Try to keep it away from him if I can.

Q. Did you have the scouts done before the end of the season?
TYRONN LUE: I had a lot of scouts done for the end of the season.

Q. Did anything happen the first -- without giving it away, did anything happen the first two series that made you rethink what you wanted to do?
TYRONN LUE: Not really. I had Washington, I had Boston, Toronto. I had those three teams pretty much done midway through the season and just working on things that I wanted to do, and that kind of went into preparation defensively all season about things I wanted to work on and do. It's been done for a while. Don't be giving everybody my secrets. But I've been working on it for a while, and things are pretty much the same.

Q. You mentioned Shumpert on point guards; are you going to stick with your usual starting five?

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