Tyronn Lue: Cavaliers aren’t in good enough shape

Tyronn Lue

Tyronn Lue’s hiring brought change to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the new head coach is trying to spark some more.

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Lue said the team wasn’t in the proper physical condition necessary to run with the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

“I don’t think we’re in good enough shape. I think early, we wanted to push it, we wanted to open the floor, and I think we came out and did that, and then I think we just dropped off the map. I think we got tired.”

Cavaliers jumped out to a 14-8 lead, but the emotion of Lue’s debut wore off and shots kept bouncing off the rim. They misfired 16 consecutive attempts to end the first quarter.

McMenamin notes LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both agreed, saying Lue wanted to utilize a faster tempo and the roster simply wasn’t ready. Irving even admitted his “chest felt like it was about to cave in.”

That shouldn’t be a surprise, though.

Per NBA.com, Cleveland has recorded the third-slowest pace in the league. Ex-coach David Blatt relied on half-court sets, but Lue wants the Cavaliers to push the tempo and create transition opportunities.

James and Irving are dangerous in isolation, Love can throw tremendous outlet passes and no one has to beg J.R. Smith to launch threes. However, that all sounds good in writing. These guys are professionals, but playing that style isn’t a matter of flipping a switch.

The Cavaliers will be doing plenty of running on practice days. Even if there’s not a dramatic change in pace, the conditioning will help the defending Eastern Conference champions be better prepared to keep up with teams like the Golden State Warriors.

And that could be the difference between winning and losing an NBA title.

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