The Cleveland Cavaliers are just one win away from meeting the Golden State Warriors in The NBA Finals for the third time in as many years. Although they have to take care of business Thursday night in Boston, the wine and gold are expected to win one of the next three games over the Celtics because LeBron James has never been part of a team that has blown a 3-1 lead.1
On Wednesday, while stating that the team is still focused on Boston, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue had something very interesting to say: The Celtics are harder to prepare for than the Warriors, at least offensively.
Here’s what he had to say after admitting that the Cavs haven’t started preparing for the Warriors just yet, per cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon:
“You can’t. As much as you want to, it’s not over. [The Celtics are], like I told you guys before, it’s like we’re preparing for a whole new team. Like, we didn’t know what they were going to run. Isaiah (Thomas) goes down and they’re running a totally different offense than we prepared for so it’s been tough on us. And defensively, they’re a lot better. They don’t have a lot of weak links to go to, to go at.”
When stating this, the head coach specifically meant that Boston’s offense is harder to game plan against than the Warriors. This doesn’t make sense, right? But, Lue is expected to know what he is talking about.
During the regular season and throughout the postseason, the Warriors could make the argument that they have four players – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green – that are harder to prepare for than anyone on the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics. Lue may not think so, but then again, he could just be creating smoke.
During the first three rounds, the Cavs were able to guard (and double team) the opponent’s best player. Against the Warriors, such will not be possible. If you double one of the main four players, they will pass it off to another star. There’s a reason why they are the first team in NBA history to sweep through the first three rounds of the playoffs with a perfect 12-0 record.
If Lue is talking only about coaching, the statement can absolutely be made to mean that Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is harder to prepare against than current Warriors head coach Mike Brown. Brown has taken Steve Kerr’s seat at the helm for the majority of the playoffs due to Kerr’s health complications.
“The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it’s a totally different thing. Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff but these guys are running all kinds of (stuff). And Brad’s (Stevens) got them moving and cutting and playing with pace and everybody is a threat.”
Then again, maybe Lue is just responding to the fact that Golden State owner Joe Lacob mouthed off that the Warriors were the better team in 2016, even after they blew a 3-1 lead. Either way, the odds are that everything will be proven on the court starting June 1.
- 11-0 in his postseason career. [↩]