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May 30, 2018

Tyronn Lue

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. We know that Kevin Love is still in the concussion protocol, but now that we're almost 24 hours away from Game 1, do you think he will play tomorrow?
TYRONN LUE: I hope so. I'm still not sure. He's going to go do some things today and see how he feels. But he is in the protocol still, so we'll see how he feels.

Q. We've been talking about this for years ever since Cavs and Warriors started about how this is a tough fit for him series-wise. Is there any scenario where you would consider, even if he were healthy, bringing Kevin off the bench just because of the defensive match-ups that you need?

Q. Steve Kerr talked to us a little bit about how during your leave of absence he reached out to you and talked a little bit about what he had gone through. What did that mean to you? Do you remember what he said to you?
TYRONN LUE: It meant a lot. A lot of the coaches reached out. A lot of the NBA family reached out. Just hearing from Steve, and he's been through something similar, it was great to hear him and talk to him and pick his brain about different circumstances.

So he was great. I appreciate all the support he gave me, along with all the rest of the NBA family. I really don't want to share much of what he talked about, but he was just very supportive. Just told me to get myself healthy, and let's make another strong run at it. So here we are again.

Q. I'm curious if your team looks at things like Vegas odds, things like this almost narrative of certainty that the media has taken with the Warriors. Is that something that you guys talk about, and is that something that's almost insulting to what you guys have done to get here?
TYRONN LUE: I mean, we see it, but we're focused on ourselves. I don't think we need that as motivation. I think when you get to the NBA Finals and you prepare and you scrap and claw all season to get to this point, there's no added motivation, just except for being in the NBA Finals and trying to win a championship.

Q. We've talked about LeBron's ability to play heavy minutes all year, but now that you've got a couple days to reflect, what do you think about the fact that you were able to play him all 48 minutes and he was effective the entire game? He never ran out of gas. He was as good as you needed him in the fourth quarter as he was in the first. There are not many guys on the planet who could do that. What kind of luxury is that that you've got a guy that you can do that with?
TYRONN LUE: It's a big luxury. That's why he conditions himself and probably is one of the top conditioned athletes in the world. When he's playing those amount of minutes throughout the course of the regular season, that gets him ready for the playoffs.

I think at times when teams are trying to match him, his match-up, they're not used to playing those many minutes, especially in the playoffs where everything is high intensity.

Q. Given all that and the fact that you had three days between Game 7 and Game 1, and you're going to have two days between 1 and 2, can you do it again?
TYRONN LUE: No, I mean, we just have to just judge it and just watch the flow of the game, see how he is. I think being in the NBA Finals, a lot of it, if he's tired early, it could be a lot of emotion going into the game.

So we just have to gauge it out and see how he feels, but definitely not early, no.

Q. With all the roster turnover this year for you guys, how is this season different from the last three Finals that you've been to?
TYRONN LUE: I think every season is different. Every season you acquire new guys and have different guys in the rotation. You make trades. We have a different team, but our main focus the whole year was just to, by the time we get to the playoffs, playing our best basketball.

I think the biggest step we've taken is just defensively. I think defensively throughout the course of the playoffs we've really gotten better. We've got to hang our hats on that and see what happens.

Q. Some of the conversations that you would have with Cavs folks the last couple years was you struggled early on in the series against the Warriors in The Finals because of those long layoffs and it was taking time to get adjusted to the speed that they play with or whatever. Do you feel like the shorter layoff could help you here?
TYRONN LUE: I think so. I think playing Boston in Game 7 in a hostile environment, similar to this environment here, could help us. I think the last couple years we've been having eight, nine days off, come into a series where they play at a high speed, they move the basketball, they move bodies. So I think going into Game 7 could help us out.

Q. You said on the conference call that you would still look to play with pace and find the right opportunities. Is there anything to be learned from looking back at the game plan in 2015 where you guys played physical, tough defense, kind of flowed everything through LeBron on offense and made it a series? Could that be a similar game plan that you could look to in this series?
TYRONN LUE: That could work, but I think we have to take our opportunities. I think if we're getting steals and we're rebounding the basketball, we push and play with pace. We want to take our first initial good shot. But we can't take bad shots. We can't turn the ball over against this team because we know the dynamic in transition.

We've got to pick and choose our spots. We still want to play our game, but we've got to be smart about it.

Q. When you game plan in this league, you and other coaches, how much do you focus on when the opponent's starters, or more so stars, are going to be out of the game and what you want to accomplish during those moments? And if you do some of that, the fact that LeBron has to be gone a minimal amount of time, is it a disadvantage to your opponents that they can't just wait for when he sits?
TYRONN LUE: When he's playing a lot of minutes, yeah, it makes it tough. But I think when you game plan, you just try to take away what a team does best. If you do that and make them play to a second option or something they're not comfortable doing, then you've pretty much done your job. If they beat you in doing that, then you tip your hats and say congratulations.

But I don't think you can let a team do what they've done best all season and let them come in and beat you the same way.

Q. We know that LeBron's primary motivation, why he still does this, is championships, obviously. The fact that there is such a narrative out there that you guys are massive underdogs in this series, fairly or unfairly, can that help you in some respects, because you know he's going to hear that, and can that be something that gets him to raise his game even a little bit more than that level he's been at for you guys?
TYRONN LUE: I don't think being the underdogs adds that much motivation, especially when you're in the NBA Finals. I think when you work so hard and the stance LeBron took this year of playing all 82 games, when he could have very easily sat out when things got hard. But he wanted to lead by example for these new guys who came in, for our team, playing all 82 games and playing at a high level.

So when you make it here to The Finals, I don't see any extra added motivation. I think getting here, being the last two teams standing, is enough motivation alone.

Q. The Warriors have made a habit this year of going on runs in the third quarter in particular. Have you ever seen a team that's done this rope-a-dope style and played loose in the first half and then come out in the third? How do you combat that as a coach?
TYRONN LUE: Well, considering this year we've been pretty bad in the third quarters, we've got to really be aware of what they do in that third quarter. The biggest thing is they really amped their defense up. I think they get stops, they get out in transition. They get threes and easy baskets.

So we've got to just do a good job of taking care of the basketball and owning our space in that third quarter, and I think we'll be fine.

Q. Saturday Night Live did a skit showing that LeBron plays with 11 guys that don't contribute at all. Obviously, they were dramatizing the situation. But when your other guys see that kind of disrespect and hear that kind of insulting narrative, do you think that they take that to heart? Do they feel that too?
TYRONN LUE: I mean, you have to ask them. But, I mean, we know it's not true. Throughout the whole course of the playoffs, we had guys step up. George Hill in Game 7 in the Indiana series, J.R. (Smith) in Game 2 in the Indiana series defensively. I think in the Toronto series you had Kevin Love, who was great and big. George Hill as well, as well as Kyle Korver. In this last series against Boston, we had George Hill and J.R. and those guys step up and play well at home.

They write all kinds of narratives, but I think our guys have done a good job of having different guys step up at the right moment to solidify wins for us. So I don't really read into that.

Q. Did you see it? Did you see the skit?
TYRONN LUE: No, I didn't.

Q. It's on YouTube.
TYRONN LUE: No, I don't watch that stuff.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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