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(NBA) Tyronn Lue's inspired beginning helps Cavaliers avoid an ending

Discussion in 'Sports' started by raynetot15, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. CLEVELAND -- After an 11-year playing career in the NBA, Tyronn Lue knew it would be important to deprogram himself as a player when he entered into the coaching ranks shortly after retiring.

    Partying wasn't a problem -- to this day he vows he has never smoked or drank in his life -- but there is still a certain conduct expected of a coach versus a player and he was cognizant not to blur that line.

    It hasn't been a problem for Lue. He modeled himself after Doc Rivers, he too a former player, and straddled the line as someone able to relate to the players he coaches without acting like one. Still, there's one habit from his playing days that Lue hasn't been able to shake: his pregame nap.

    He awoke from one of those naps on Monday -- the biggest day of his career as a head coach thus far -- with his Please or Register to view links trailing the Please or Register to view links 3-1 in the NBA Finals and facing a potential elimination game later that night in Game 5.

    Up, but still with time to kill before it was time to board the bus and leave the team hotel in San Francisco for Oracle Arena across the Bay, Lue flipped the channels on the television in his room when he stumbled upon some inspiration.

    "I turned the TV on and they were talking about the Civil War," Lue told ESPN.com Wednesday, the day before the next biggest day of his coaching career when the Cavs face another do-or-die Game 6.

    He watched. He listened. And he gathered some material for what was, by all accounts, a riveting pregame speech before his team took the court later that night.

    Please or Register to view links for every game of the Finals each year. "And I think we were born to be champions. We got a tough road to conquer, but we can do it. We're down 3-1 but we got to have the mindset that when we go into this game tonight, we're going to win."

    It was a bit of a stray from the norm for Lue, citing a great American author in the context of basketball, when often times he'll forgo saying anything other than a simple "bring it in" when addressing the group after a game because that's what his former coach, Scott Skiles, used to do -- not wanting his emotions to cloud his analysis without the benefit of reviewing the tape.

    "Sometimes it's needed," Lue said. "I don't like to talk a lot, but sometimes it's needed. We just had a couple good things that I wanted to say before the game."

    But really, a Twain quote?

    "I don't know where I got it from," Lue continued. "I mean, I've known about it throughout the course of my life, but as soon as I quoted it, Please or Register to view links, he said 'Mark Twain,' so he knew."

    Others might not have recognized the origin of the message, but certainly could feel the meaning of the moment.

    "You know, it's funny," Please or Register to view links said. "To watch even him change. Not change, but to just watch even him evolve as a coach. He's always been kind of a quiet guy. Not a big motivating guy. Especially through these whole playoffs and just when he took over. But in the last week or so, he's been a little bit more motivational because he's pulling things from his personal experience; he's pulling things from what he believes that we need. It's not this crazy rah-rah speech but there are some messages within it that I think we're benefiting from."

    Cavs coach Tyronn Lue will be counting on Kevin Love, the man who could identify his Mark Twain quote. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
    Lue wasn't through with just quoting Twain.

    "There were a lot of things I said in there," he recalled on Wednesday.

    There are countless things that go into determining the outcome of every basketball game, but Lue wanted to focus on three fundamental areas to boost his team before they took the court: belief, toughness and sacrifice.

    Twain's words checked off the belief category. He also quoted his grandfather to illustrate the grit he wanted to see.

    "I said, 'My grandpa taught me a quote a long time ago that everybody can't walk in the streets, that's why they made sidewalks,'" Lue shared. "And we got to be the tougher team tonight. ... We got to show our toughness."

    Finally, that post-nap TV show about the Civil War gave him an outlet to make the point he wanted to make about sacrifice.
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