After missing nine games due to chest pains, the head coach was back at the helm as the Cavaliers overcome a 16-point deficit with 6:06 remaining in the contest to defeat the Washington Wizards 119-115 on Thursday.
Lue admitted to being “rusty”, but received help from LeBron James who scored 13 of his 33 points over the final six minutes to pull out the improbable victory.
“I told the guys after the game, ‘Good job of bailing me out,'” Lue said. “It was tough. First game back and not having a point guard and not knowing what sets to call and what to run because you haven’t worked on it. …Just on the fly, it was tough. And those guys did a good job of scoring 119 points with no point guard and just sticking with it. Our rotations were a little off tonight so, I mean, I was rusty.”
.@cavs trailed by 16 points in final 6 minutes, the largest comeback in final 6 minutes in LeBron James' career (his teams were 0-152 all-time trailing by 15+ points in final 6 minutes). https://t.co/bYdOAIGVn5— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 6, 2018
Fortunately for Lue, he returns to a red-hot team that have now won 10 of their last 11 games to remain third in the Eastern Conference, with the Philadelphia 76ers in pursuit having won 12 in a row themselves.
Heading into the playoffs, Cleveland will continue starting Jeff Green to prioritise flexibility, according to Lue.
Rather than going with a traditional centre in Larry Nance Jr or Tristan Thompson, Lue believes with Green on the court, the Cavaliers can get maximum offensive spacing while having another wing defender alongside James.
“I just like his versatility, I think defensive wise we can put him on [DeMar] DeRozan, you can put him on John Wall, Bradley Beal. You can put him on [Victor] Oladipo,” Lue said before facing the Wizards.
“I just like that we can switch a lot of 1 through 4 stuff and it gives us another ball handler on the floor too, so I just think it’s the right thing for us to start.”
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