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May 19, 2017

Tyronn Lue

Boston, Massachusetts: Postgame

Cavaliers - 130, Celtics - 86

Q. Throughout the course of the playoffs, several guys on your team have been preaching about trying to accomplish a 48-minute game. James Jones even used the term perfect game to me, been chasing a perfect game. Does this qualify as a full 48-minute game, a perfect game?
TYRONN LUE: It was a good 48-minute game for us on both ends of the ball. I thought defensively, again, I thought we really set the tone to start the game, and that really opened up our offense for us. We played all the way through for 48 minutes. That was a good game for us.

You've got to give credit to the team for starting that first half defensively, which is really what set everything up.

Q. After a night like tonight, I hate to ask about worry, but in a game that's so non-competitive so early, do you worry about your guys getting hurt? Do you worry about guys losing focus and just getting off course when things are that lopsided?
TYRONN LUE: No. I mean, it's one game. I don't care if you win by 200 points. It's one game, and we know this team is a very scrappy team. They play hard. They compete. We made shots tonight, and we got a good defensive effort. But they're greatly coached. We know that. You guys all know that. We're going back home. We're not going to get comfortable. We understand that this is a good team. They're not No. 1 in the East for no reason. Tonight was one of those nights, and that's it. We won, and we've got to move on. We've got to get focused for Game 3.

Q. LeBron has had a ton of really amazing games in this building, but this one was effective, efficient, and he just did so many different things. Can you describe the level he's playing at right now?
TYRONN LUE: We've been having this talk for a long time now, but he's playing at an unbelievable level and he's really setting the tone early for us in the games. When we're getting stops defensively and we're guarding the way we've been guarding, he's able to get out in transition and get to the basket. And when he's making his three-point shot, you're in for a long night.

He's been really setting the tone for us, and we've really been riding him. First game, K-Love was great; he was good again tonight. Kyrie shot the ball great tonight, 8-for-11, 23 points. And then I just thought Shump defensively on Isaiah put a bigger, stronger guy on him, just trying to wear him down, because Isaiah is a tough cover. He's not Second Team All-NBA for no reason, top three in the league in scoring. So he's a tough cover. The things they run for him put you in bad positions and tough positions, especially with Al Horford being a stretch five. That's why I'm pleased most of all with our defense and how we just kept reacting and kept moving and kept scrambling.

Q. You mentioned Kyrie in the first quarter. All four of his made baskets were in the paint. When he's getting into the paint like that for your offense, how does that open things up and maybe even change what Boston was trying to do?
TYRONN LUE: Well, when he's getting into the paint, and we have shooting on the floor, it's tough. You've got to pick your poison. Tonight we made 19 threes. When we're getting into the paint, either Kyrie and Bron can finish or they kick out for three. We're shooting the ball well. It's a tough dilemma. It was good seeing him aggressive early and playing with that pace. I thought he played with a good pace to start the game.

Q. You had some hard decisions to make late in the regular season about if you're going to rest guys. To do what you did in these two games, does that give you any indication that you made the right decision when you could have gone the other way and tried to chase the seeding?
TYRONN LUE: Not really. Like I said, it's only two games. The series is not over. But for me, I just wanted to make sure we were healthy and we could start the playoffs healthy. I knew if we did that we would have a good chance of being pretty good. Give us rest and health, and then we've got to figure it out from there.

But to be a championship team, you've got to win on the road anyway. The last two Finals we've been to, we've had to start off on the road because out West the way they're playing is tough. Either way it goes, if you're going to win, if you're going to be a championship team, you're going to have to win on the road. We just kind of chose health and rest over everything else.

Q. Was there ever a point where you were almost incredulous that this is the Conference Finals and it's not supposed to be that easy, I guess?
TYRONN LUE: No. I mean, it was just one game. They had a rough night scoring the basketball, and we put together a full game, defensively and offensively. It was just one of those games. You can't bank on that every single night. They had a tough night shooting the basketball, which is not going to happen every single night. It's one game. It's over. We've got to move on, and we've got to stay focused for Game 3.

Q. Shortly before tip-off the NBA released the finalists for the regular-season awards, and included in it was the top three for MVP and LeBron was not included --
TYRONN LUE: He wasn't on the list, you said?

Q. He was not included in the top three. I wanted your comment on that and then also the timing of the league releasing finalists in the middle of the playoffs.
TYRONN LUE: When did it come out?

Q. About 10 minutes before tip.
TYRONN LUE: Oh, he might have seen it then (Laughter). Yeah, I don't know. Who were the top-three guys?

Q. Westbrook, Harden and Kawhi.
TYRONN LUE: Those guys had MVP seasons, and you've got to give the award to some different people every now and then. I look at LeBron like Shaq; I think every year he's the MVP, and you can give him the award every year if you wanted to. When guys have incredible seasons like James Harden did and Westbrook and Kawhi, then you kind of credit those guys and give those guys the nod. But to me, I mean, LeBron is MVP, just like Shaq, you can give it to him every year if you wanted to.

Q. At the beginning of the game when they cut the lead to 11-10 you called timeout. What did you say to the guys at that point. And then if I can follow up, toward the end of the season there was all the talk about Russell or James [for MVP]. Was that something that LeBron was taking personal?
TYRONN LUE: I don't know if he took it personal, but they had two phenomenal years. I mean, those guys played great, unbelievable. Russ to average a triple-double and James to switch positions and be a point guard and lead his team to the third-best record in the NBA. They had unbelievable seasons, so you can't knock those guys.

Your first question was what? Oh, 11-10? I just thought we were a little lax on defense. We gave Gerald Green a couple looks that we didn't want to give him early, kind of lazy getting out to him. We knew that he could shoot the basketball. He can spark their offense. So I called a timeout just to get us back locked in defensively, get to him, let's not give him any open shots, any confidence, because we know he can score the basketball.

Q. We've spoken a lot about LeBron's offense here this evening but he had four steals and three blocks in the game. What does he bring to your team defensively apart from that?
TYRONN LUE: When we're blitzing and we're rotating and we're scrambling, he's probably the best to have on the back line because he reads situations so well, and he has instincts. You throw the ball in a bad position, he's coming to get it. So having him on the back line defensively is good for us, and then he's chasing down blocks like the one he had on Avery was unbelievable. Those are game changers for us, and just having him on the back line, talking and anchoring our defense and talking and protecting on the back line is big for us.

Q. What can you say about the defensive job you guys have done on Horford? Obviously Tristan is responsible for a lot of that, but the way you guys have been able to limit Horford in the first two games, what can you say about that?
TYRONN LUE: I just think Tristan is just so versatile. He can show, he can blitz, he can switch. With Horford, he was shooting 58 percent from three coming into the playoffs, and that's because a lot of fives are guarding them. They were dropping and couldn't get back to him. We just wanted to give him a different look, because we know he's a dangerous player and he's a key to their offense.

They run a lot of offense through him at the top at the of the key. When he's picking and popping and making shots, they're dangerous. We just wanted to give him a different look, and Tristan has been doing a good job of showing on Isaiah and getting back to him and trying to make him put the ball on the floor. Just trying to mix it up and just keep him off balance.

Q. At halftime, what do you say to your guys after a half like that? What do you say after the game?
TYRONN LUE: At halftime, just keep our composure, play the game the right way and don't be satisfied. We're doing something and looking for something bigger. Don't go out jacking up bad shots, not playing defense. String together a 12-minute quarter in the third quarter and then we can start trying to get our rest, because we play every other day. So just being professional, playing the game the right way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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