Tyronn Lue and the LA Clippers closed out their three-game road trip in Cleveland, taking on the Cavs on Monday night. Despite missing six key rotation players, the Clippers fought and forced overtime, but ended up dropping the game 120-111.
The Clippers played without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Norman Powell due to injuries. Robert Covington (personal) has been away from the team during this three-game road trip, while both Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris were rested on the second night of a back-to-back and the fifth game of a five-in-seven stretch.
Despite the loss, it was head coach Tyronn Lue who made his return to Cleveland in front of fans for the first time since he was fired back in 2018. During the first timeout of the game, the Cavs showed a video commemorating the 2016 NBA Championship team. They finished the video by showing Lue on the big board, which drew a loud ovation from Cavs fans.
“It means a lot,” Lue said of winning Game 7 back in 2016 to secure an NBA Championship. “I think winning the first championship here in Cleveland. The way the fans and the city of Cleveland embraced me, I mean it was unbelievable. And to give back to this city by winning a championship — there was nothing better to do. I think for me, just being the first year coach and having the confidence in knowing that I can do it now — that was I was good enough to do it — really sticks out to me. That’s what I really hang my hat on.”
The two best words in sports: Game Seven.
As we celebrate iconic #NBA75 moments this season, join us in looking back at our epic championship win in Oakland 🏆@KeyBank | #LetEmKnow pic.twitter.com/hKnFxZczmO
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) March 14, 2022
Kevin Love, the only remaining piece of the 2016 title team, came over to the Clippers’ end of the court to embrace Tyronn Lue, giving him a hug in front of the scorer’s table as Cavs fans cheered.
Cavs showed a video of the 2016 championship run and put Tyronn Lue on the big board.
Fans give him an ovation and Kevin Love came over to hug him.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 14, 2022
After the game, Tyronn Lue reflected on the moment and his time here.
“It felt good just to be welcomed back,” Lue said. “Just to reflect on the great memories we had here, for those four years, for those four great years, and winning a championship. All the fans in the state of Ohio and the city of Cleveland, all the support they’ve given me and just to get the tribute video and the fans are cheering for me, it felt good.”
Lue is hoping to bring a championship to the Clippers organization just like he helped deliver in Cleveland. While health might be getting in the way at the moment, the team has built the right culture and brought in the right pieces to contend for an NBA title when healthy.