Tyronn Lue said Brad Stevens ‘threw us for a loop’ with rotation switch

Kyle Korver inexplicably logged zero minutes in the first quarter.

Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Five of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 23, 2018
Tyronn Lue during Game 5 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. –Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After successfully battling the Celtics’ rotation in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue admitted he was flummoxed by Brad Stevens’s Game 5 lineup tweak.

Following Boston’s 96-83 win to take a 3-2 edge in the series, Lue acknowledged that his counterpart’s change in the Celtics’ rotation sent his best laid plans awry. Cavs guard Kyle Korver, who averaged 14 points per game and 66 percent shooting from three-point range in Cleveland’s back-t0-back wins, didn’t enter the game in the entire first quarter.

“Well, initially [Stevens] has been putting Ojeleye in, so that’s been Kyle’s matchup when he comes in the game,” Lue said. “But he didn’t play him tonight, so it kind of threw us for a loop.”


It resulted in the Celtics racing to a 32-19 lead in the first quarter, a deficit the Cavs never escaped.

It was a candid quote from the Cleveland coach, who offered a similarly straightforward take after Game 2 when he bluntly charged the Celtics with “gooning the game up.”

Stevens remained adamant in his support for Ojeleye, who didn’t play at all in Game 5 after recording minutes in Game 1-4.

“We believe in Semi and we think that he’s a big, huge part of our team,” Stevens explained. “It would not be a shock if he plays a ton for us in Game 6.”