Tyronn Lue helping Clippers with a 'blueprint' to win series

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Tyronn Lue gathered his team in the huddle during a timeout with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left Sunday in Game 4 and looked them in the eyes with a firmness after the Clippers’ 31-point lead had evaporated down to one.

Lue was the calm Clippers coach at a time when the Dallas Mavericks had overwhelmed his team and changed the momentum of the game.

Lue was resolute in the middle of a Mavericks offensive storm in which Kyrie Irving was virtually unstoppable.

Lue was steadfast in his belief in the Clippers during the game’s most tense moment even with their best player, Kawhi Leonard, sidelined because of inflammation in his right knee.

Lue crossed his arms after his team took the court, looked at the media while the fans inside American Airlines Center were delirious, smiled and mouthed:

“We’ll be good. We’ll be good.”

The play Lue dialed up for was for Paul George down low, but he fumbled the basketball, retrieved it and then knocked down a 23-foot, step-back three-pointer in the corner for a two-point lead the Clippers never relinquished.

When the game was over and the Clippers had tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2, Lue was asked if his steely demeanor when the game hangs in the balance rubs off on his players.

He laughed.

“I hope so. Yeah, I hope so. I think so,” Lue said. “Just stay in the moment. I think teams are going to make a run. Dallas has a great crowd, a great fan base, and they’re going to be loud. And when they took the lead, I didn’t want to see any hanging heads. I didn’t want to see [anyone] pointing a finger. Like, let’s regroup and let’s win the game.

“And so there’s need to panic, there’s no need to be loud and boisterous in the timeout. Just come in, get your point across and win the game. And so our guys, like I said, they refocused, we got it back, we took a two-point lead after that timeout and then from that point on we’re just able to win the game.”

It is clear Lue is the leader the Clippers follow.

They lost Game 2 at Crypto.com Arena last Tuesday night, in the process losing the home-court advantage to the Mavericks.

George offered this answer on why he was confident the Clippers could get at least one win in Dallas and bring the series back home Wednesday for Game 5 in good position.

“The guys we got in the locker room and TLue,” George said about his coach.

James Harden emphasized that point after his 33-point, seven-assist, six-rebound masterpiece in 40 minutes, saying that Lue has given the Clippers the “blueprint” it takes to defeat the Mavericks.

It is maintaining your composure during the ebbs and flows of the game. It is studying during the film sessions. It is preparing the right way. It is executing the game plan on offense and defense. It is standing tall when the time calls for it.

“I think we’ve seen the blueprint and what it’s going to take in order to beat this team,” Harden said Sunday. “So for us it’s just watching film, getting better and figuring out and finding ways to do it consistently, throughout the course of a four-quarter game. [It’s] easier said than done.

“But for us, I think it’s just we can’t have any wasted possessions because this team is so gifted offensively that they can make you pay for it. So for us, it’s just making sure that we get the shot that we want. … As long as we can get a shot up, we’ll live with the results.”

It remains uncertain if Leonard will play in Game 5, but the Clippers have won two playoff games without him.

They know the blueprint and they know Lue will have them prepared.

“Prepare for it as if it’s a whole new game. Prepare as if it’s Game 1,” George said. “Not get too high about this win. Go home, try to take care of business. But just take it one game at a time.”

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