Ty Lue isn’t having it. The Los Angeles Clippers head coach addressed the rumors suggesting his team rested the core of its star players in an attempt to lose the remaining two games of the season. Why do some think Lue and company wanted to lose out? In order to avoid playing the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
“I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks on the outside, ’cause I don’t listen to that anyways,” Lue said when asked about the tanking rumors, via The Athletic. “At the end of the day, I am the coach of the team, we decided to go with health over anything else, we finally got our team healthy and that’s what we focused on. … (Health is) the most important thing to me, so whatever people say on the outside I don’t care.”
The Clips coach also added this hilarious wrinkle: “I don’t read Twitter, or have Twitter, or InstaTwit, or all that, I don’t care about all that. I’m my own man, I do what I want to do. That’s how I live my life.”
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Lue Has a Point About the Team’s Health…
Fewer teams in the NBA have dealt with as many injuries as the Clips have been battling through over the second half of the season. Superstar Kawhi Leonard has been grappling with hand and foot injuries, while Paul George dealt with soreness for several months in his right foot due to a bone edema. Guard Patrick Beverley fractured a bone in his left hand, and big man Serge Ibaka missed two months with a back injury.
The Clippers started Beverley, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Patrick Patterson and Ivica Zubac in the regular season finale against the Thunder, and Kennard, Zubac, Marcus Morris, Rajon Rondo and Jay Scrubb in their May 14 game against the Rockets, both of which they lost. Still, the team got to rest its key contributors in George and Leonard, which may turn out to be a good thing.
Clips Feeling Good Heading into Playoff Clash With Mavericks
“I feel good. I feel confident, like any other year,” Leonard said, per the L.A. Times. “I feel like we got a good team. We got some depth on us. It’s just about between the ears now. How much are we willing to sacrifice to get a win? How much of our mind and body are we going to put into these playoffs? That’s where I’m at. Like I said, I’m confident in this unit.”
After an early exit in the semifinals last year, L.A. is looking to get over the hump once and for all — and Lue thinks his team is right where it needs to be.
“The biggest thing with me is last year was last year,” Lue added. “We have a different team. We have a different formula. We’ve done things differently. Our team is healthy. We made some changes, so we’re a totally different team. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to win a championship because of that, but we’re in a different place. In order to win a championship, it was the same goal we had last year. But we have different players. We have a different mentality.”