By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
While the praise for the genius of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has sometimes bordered on absurd, especially this postseason, Cavaliers coach Ty Lue’s postgame press conference should provide a glimpse at the alternatives in today’s NBA.
Two days after his production and effort played a massive factor in the Cavs sending this series back to Boston tied 2-2, Kyle Korver drew in for a series-low 18:37 in Game 5, finishing with seven points on a 2-for-6 shooting night. After the game, Lue was asked about Korver’s unusual usage given the magnitude of this game and the success he found in Game 5.
“[Brad Stevens has] been putting [Semi] Ojeleye in, so that’s been kind of Kyle’s matchup when he comes in the game,” Lue said. “He didn’t play him, so it kind of threw us for a loop. But we got [LeBron James] out with two-and-a-half minutes, and at the start of the fourth he wasn’t ready to go. The same thing happened I think Game 1 or 2; I can’t remember.”
The Cavaliers were game-planning for Semi Ojeleye? The same Semi Ojeleye averaging the fifth-fewest minutes in what has been a 12-person rotation this postseason? The same Ojeleye that’s shot just 30.3 from the field in the playoffs, which is the second-worst, behind Guerschon Yabusele’s 11.1 (garbage time) field goal percentage. Granted, I know the offensive totals of Ojeleye would not be why it’s Korver on Ojeleye — at least from the Cleveland point of view.
But letting a first-year role player dictate how you deploy a legitimate game-breaker is pure craziness on the part of Lue. Forget alerting the assembled media that you’re doing exactly that.
If it’s that easy, the Celtics should begin Game 6 with Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris out of action as a way to trick Lue into sitting LeBron off the jump.
But the presser got better when a reporter asked an agitated and seemingly overwhelmed Lue if he knows what he’s getting from his veteran team on a nightly basis or if it’s akin to throwing a dart at the board.
“What kind of question is that?” Lue responded.
Well, you’ve had your heads kicked in Boston but look like world beaters when playing in Cleveland. Seems pretty obvious to me, but alas, I am just another person named Ty and not an NBA coach. But Lue didn’t let the reporter finish a revised version of the question before he cut him off with what I believe could — in some universe — be considered an answer.
“I thought we would play better, but we didn’t,” Lue said. “We didn’t play well.
“So now we’ve got to go home, win Game 6 and come back here for Game 7.”
Stevens, meanwhile, has said that he’s embraced this challenge and having fun. With soundbites to back it up.
Maybe Stevens is a genius.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.