Tyronn Lue Benches LeBron And Gains More Respect

    People dont give credit to Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue for anything hes accomplished in his three years as head coach of the LeBron James Era Cavs. Lue stepped in midseason in 2016 and helped Cleveland through some tumultuous times to win an NBA Championship as a rookie coach. His basketball knowledge, passion for the game and ability to galvanize his troops was evident. 

    Tyronn Lue crying happy tears alone on the bench

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    He returned to The Finals again in 2017 and looks poised to make another run this season as Cleveland has won 18 of its last 20 games.  While LeBron gets all of the credit for Clevelands success, which is one of the reasons why Kyrie bounced to Boston to be his own man, Lues coaching acumen is often ignored. It is assumed that LeBron is the real coach and makes all of the decisions in crunch time, which is a direct insult to Lues coaching abilities. 

    However, LeBron himself gave us some insight into why Lue is a successful coach and can deal with making tough decisions concerning the worlds best player. As he has been known to do in the past, Lue, unconcerned with media backlash or Lebron’s ego, made a professional decision to ride with the players that were bringing the team success in Tuesday night’s game against the Bucks. It proved to be a wise decision.

    Lue, 40, put LeBron on the bench for crucial stretches in the fourth quarter of Cleveland Cavaliers’ 119-116 loss, but ultimately King James gave the coach credit for his decision-making and thought it was a “perfect” move.

    “It was the perfect way to do it,” said the four-time NBA MVP of Lue’s decision to keep him on the bench for the opening eight minutes and 22 seconds of the final period, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “It was perfect.”

    According to Vardon, the combination of Dwyane Wade, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Tristan Thompson and Jae Crowder spearheaded runs of 19-0 and 24-2 as Cleveland erased a 20-point deficit.  

    Cleveland Cavaliers on Twitter

    Trailing by 20 points with just under 11 minutes to play, our second unit mounted a furious rally that fell just short last night. #CavsBucks RECAP: https://t.co/aODH13Ji4G

    A rested James returned to score nine points in the last three minutes and 38 seconds en route to 39 points, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in his highly-publicized matchup with rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists and converted an and-1 with less than 10 seconds remaining to ice the win. 

    Cleveland came close to winning the game and James says he understood the players Lue had in the game were riding a streak of momentum and according to reports, Wade says, LeBron encouraged Lue to keep the group on the court. 

    Cleveland Cavaliers on Twitter

    It’s a luxury to have a guy like that come off the bench. It’s almost like [Joe] Montana and Steve Young.” – @KingJames on @DwyaneWade

    “The momentum, it’s that simple,” James said, per Vardon. “We started the fourth quarter down, I don’t know how many (15 points). They had the momentum, they was playing well. Just let them keep going. I mean, why not? We’re all professionals.”

    Indeed, pros put egos aside in the name of winning and so far in his career, Lue has been effective in handling egos, being firm, but also commanding the respect of his star player, who really doesnt have to listen to anyone if he chooses not to. Thats a quality we found in coaching greats such as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and even KC Jones. Now we are seeing it in Lue and LeBron is his witness. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.