At the heart of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ unstoppable postseason play style, there is head coach Tyronn Lue, the man responsible for reinventing a team that lacked unity under former head honcho David Blatt.
What’s Lue’s secret?
Well, one of his secrets includes a willingness to put LeBron James in his place, not only behind the scenes, in practice and during film sessions, but on the sidelines, during games.
CBS Sports’ Ken Berger penned a fantastic piece on the Cavaliers’ midseason about-face, one that has culminated in them winning each of their first nine playoff games. And within the column, he delivered a tasty little anecdote that helps explain why the Cavaliers are here, not only trusting each other, but putting their faith in Lue:
Lue changed that the moment he first told James in a huddle, “Shut the [expletive up]. I got this,” according to a person who heard the exchange — and a few others like it. If Lue was going to get the stars and the role players to buy into the strategic changes he was determined to implement — play faster, space the floor, move the ball, take full advantage of Love’s versatility — he was going to have to restore order first.
He did it in every way possible, starting with James — calling him out in film sessions, barking at him in practice, seizing control back. Only then could the Cavaliers evolve into the juggernaut we are witnessing now.
Credit Tyronn Lue for having the gall to actually go against Cleveland’s savior. That’s not an easy thing to do, when you know how important he is to the organization. Lue’s long-term deal likely helps him feel stable in his job, but that security doesn’t change the clout LeBron holds.
If there was any ever doubt before that Tyronn Lue is the best fit for this Cavs team, it’s gone now. The way Cleveland dismissed Blatt made everyone uneasy, but Lue has never once felt like the cause of his departure. And now it’s clear that he’s just the solution they needed.