Tyronn Lue returned to work humbled Joseph Noteboom Color Rush Jersey , changed and with a new perspective.
Cleveland’s coach has been rewired by a serious health scare.
Lue was back on the sidelines Thursday night and had his blood pressure tested as the Cavaliers rallied to win in his first game following a medical absence that became necessary after he experienced “piercing” chest pains during two games this season.
Now that he’s feeling better, Lue even joked about his heart after the Cavs overcame a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Washington Wizards 119-115.
”I told the guys after the game, `Good job of bailing me out.’ It was tough,” Lue said. ”First game back and not having a point guard and not knowing what sets to call and what to run because you haven’t worked on it. Our rotations were a little off tonight so, I mean, I was rusty.”
Earlier in the day, Lue, who guided the Cavs to an NBA title in 2016, described his ordeal in some detail for the first time. Lue said he had been bothered by chest pains for more than a year, but when they worsened during a March 17 game in Chicago, he realized it was time to step away and get help.
”It’s just the chest pains are very piercing, like, through the chest and around the rib area. So, it feels like you’re having a heart attack,” he said. ”The doctor said Mathieu Perreault Jersey , `You might die, but it won’t be from your heart.’ So, that was a good thing to hear that my heart’s in good shape. But it’s just like electricity shooting through your body, through your chest area.”
After stubbornly thinking he could fight through symptoms, Lue changed his diet (“No Shirley Temples), is exercising more, hired a chef and is taking sleep medication.
More important, he now realizes there are more important things than worrying about Cleveland’s rotation, defending the pick and roll or getting the Cavs back to the NBA Finals.
While he was out for nine games, Lue received sound advice from a colleague and rival – Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who has been sidelined in the past with debilitating back pain.
Lue said Kerr helped him understand the bigger picture by putting his health first.
”We get so wrapped up in the game of basketball I think we kind of forget about everything else,” Lue said. ”This was the first time in 20 years where I really just had a chance to focus on me and get myself right and he reminded of that. We get so wrapped up in the game that we forget about real life and it was the best advice I got – so thank Steve for that.”
The Cavs travel to Philadelphia on Friday and Lue said coaching against the Wizards will be a good test to make sure he’s up for the rigors of travel and added stress.
”We know the games will be late and it will be a little bit more difficult, but just with travel and being asleep on the road and I’ve got to take my medication because sometimes I can be groggy in the first two or three hours when I wake up,” Lue said. ”I just gotta get in a routine and seeing how that’s going to feel.”
The Cavs, who have been ravaged by injuries all season Authentic James Daniels Jersey , hardly missed a beat without Lue, going 8-1 under the direction of assistant Larry Drew. Lue has always trusted Drew, but he intends to lean on him even more as the Cavs head into their last four regular-season games before gearing up for the postseason.
”L.D. stepped up and did a great job,” Lue said. ”And other coaches stepped up and they’ve been doing a great job also. So, whatever I need them to do, they all just said, `Don’t be afraid to ask.’ So, I’m very excited just for the playoff push. I kind of wish I could skip these four games and go right to the playoffs because that excites me.”
Cleveland’s players are thrilled to have Lue back. He recently returned in an advisory role, but stayed off the floor during games. Now that he’ll be back in the huddle, the Cavs feel whole.
”He challenges us,” LeBron James said. ”He’s been with us. He’s our championship head coach so he knows everything about our team. He knows how to get the best out of our players, even though we’ve got a lot of new guys. But just his command, having him back out there. It’s going to be good for us.”
Following his health issues in Chicago last month, Lue said owner Dan Gilbert, general manager Koby Altman and others in Cleveland’s organization persuaded him it was time to seek help.
Lue agreed Ryan McLeod Oilers Jersey , and then James comforted him with encouraging words.
”Having LeBron’s validation, just being like, `I got it. Take some time off. Get yourself ready for the playoffs. I’ll take care of the team. I’ll make sure everything is good,”’ Lue said. ”And he’s playing at a high level, so he’s a man of his word.”
Tom Wilson’s aggression helped propel him from fourth-line grinder into a difference-maker who skates alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
His teammates feed off the edginess of his play. His coach loves his tenacity.
”There are very few Tom Wilsons in the league,” Barry Trotz said.
And in Game 4 of Washington’s increasingly prickly Eastern Conference semifinal against Pittsburgh, there won’t be any at all.
The league suspended Wilson three games for his run-in with Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that left the rookie with a concussion and a broken jaw.
Aston-Reese was skating in front of the Washington bench when Wilson’s left shoulder hit some combination of Aston Reese’s shoulder and jaw in the middle of the second period.
Following a brief conference among the on-ice officials, Wilson was not penalized on the play and the Capitals used it as a rallying point on their way to a dramatic 4-3 victory that gave them a 2-1 series lead.
The league, however, suspended Wilson following a hearing on Wednesday, ruling the hit was illegal. The league considered Aston-Reese’s head the initial point of contact and called the incident avoidable.
The decision means the Capitals are now forced to push the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to the brink of elimination without one of their most physical players.
Trotz defended Wilson, who has now been disciplined by the department of player safety three times this season.
”It was a collision,” Trotz said Wednesday before the suspension was announced. ”They hit and to me it looked like body on body. We’ve stopped it, we’ve looked at it, there’s pictures all over the Internet that you can see. He doesn’t leave his feet. It’s body-on-body. … I’m surprised the player has the injury that he has.”
The incident overshadowed the kind of taut and electric play that’s come to symbolize one of the NHL’s top rivalries.
Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins the lead with a goal late in the second period only to have Washington – in a historically un-Washingtonlike move whenever the Capitals face Pittsburgh – beat Matt Murray twice in the third to win Da'Shawn Hand Color Rush Jersey , the last coming on Ovechkin bunting in a rebound of his own shot with just 1:07 to play.
”I really believe this year has felt a little bit different,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. ”Even in season when we would get down a couple goals we could fight back. It seems like we’re never out of it.”
Then again, it’s been 36 months since the Penguins have exited the postseason without the Cup on the team plane.
Pittsburgh has ripped off nine consecutive series victories during its run at the top, and has only trailed after three games once, in last year’s Eastern Conference final against Ottawa.
The Penguins rebounded to win in seven games and there’s hardly any panic. It’s not what Pittsburgh does.
The other thing the Penguins try not to do? Get so caught up in trying to retaliate against Wilson that they forget why they’re out there in the first place.
Defenseman Kris Letang pointed to his team’s antagonist – and entirely legal – response to Wilson in Game 3 as proof.
Jake Guentzel delivered a shot into the end boards. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak basically begged Wilson to fight, but didn’t take it too far when Wilson failed to engage.
”After the whistle we walked away,” Letang said. ”There’s not much business to do. I liked our answer.”
The Penguins will need another one if they want to keep their hopes of becoming the first team in 35 years to three-peat alive. They’ve only dropped consecutive games in the playoffs five times in two-plus years and have lost to Washington only once in 10 all-time postseason meetings.
The Capitals have momentum on their side. Pittsburgh has history.
”It’s hard to win in the playoffs and you’re going to go through ups and downs and emotional highs and emotional lows,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”And it’s all about how you handle those and respond. … Right now our eyes are on Game 4.”
UNDISCIPLINED OR PLAIN SLOPPY?
The Nashville Predators won the Presidents’ Trophy despite leading the NHL in penalty minutes. They had played with much more discipline until melting down with three consecutive penalties helping turn a 3-0 lead after the first period into a 7-4 loss and a 2-1 deficit to the Winnipeg Jets.
Now Nashville faces a challenge on Thursday night (9:30 p.m. ET NBCSN) in their Western Conference semifinal to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination in the best-of-seven series.
”We have a smart group,” Predators center Ryan Johansen said Wednesday. ”We understand what we did wrong and what needs to be done.”
Not only did the Predators not help themselves with five penalties – three in the third after tying the Jets at 4-4 – they didn’t play well after grabbing a big lead.
”We just sat back too much,” Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. ”Obviously they scored a goal early and after that we just became passive and, yeah, I don’t think it would have mattered which team we were playing. If we play like that, we’re going to get scored on.”
Penguins forward Phil Kessel set a career high with 92 points during the regular season, but has just one secondary assist through three games of the series and – perhaps more troubling for Cheap Dallas Cowboys Jerseys
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