LA Clippers: Ty Lue outcoaches Doc Rivers in this 2020-2021 NBA season

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue talks with LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21). Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue talks with LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21). Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

When our LA Clippers ended up losing our 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the postseason last year, it was clear change needed to happen. The Clippers and their head coach at the time, Doc Rivers, ‘mutually’ parted ways. Rivers, however, didn’t think that too much change would be happening.

“Ty Lue was sitting right next to me. So he better hope it’s not adjustments. It ain’t going to be much different,” Rivers said, in response to criticism from Clippers’ star guard/forward Paul George.

George criticized Rivers on the ‘All the Smoke’ podcast for the way Rivers utilized him. He ended up circling back and actually ended up blaming himself for the collapse. Regardless, Rivers has now been proven incorrect on his statement about how ‘it ain’t going to be much different’ under his former assistant coach in Lue.

Ty Lue performed better in his first year as the LA Clippers’ head coach than Doc Rivers did last year.

Rivers was criticized for not making adjustments for the LA Clippers in the 2020 NBA Postseason after the blown lead.

He put many odd lineups on the court during the postseason at confusing times, and didn’t make the right adjustments when adversity hit. Lue, on the other hand, mastered the art of adapting in the playoffs this year, and now has a Conference Finals appearance to show for it.

In the first series, Lue and the Clippers went down 2-0, despite having the first two games at home, and then opened up Game 3 in a 20-6 hole. He came back through making defensive adjustments.

It was clear that he needed to do something different in his plan to defend the likes of guys like superstar Luka Doncic and Clipper killer Tim Hardaway Jr. He did, and he ended up winning the series in seven games.

Lue made a variety of adjustments, but most notably found ways to avoid advantageous matchups for Luka off of the pick-and-roll (which he feasted on early in the series), which made the Mavericks a one-dimensional team. They were forced to rely on Luka one hundred percent of the time, and that’s a tough formula to win by.

Also, just as notably, Lue went with smaller lineups to tire out Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs’ other bigs. He continued with this approach in the next series, and it worked there too.

Even when Kawhi Leonard went down, he stuck with smaller lineups for the most part and forced Rudy Gobert to try to guard the perimeter. He couldn’t, and the likes of George, Reggie Jackson, and Terance Mann absolutely torched the Jazz’s defensive deficiencies.

If Ty Lue would have stuck with the plan for the first two games of the series, we wouldn’t be in this round, and we may have been swept in the first round.

So, it actually has been ‘much different’ with Lue at the helm. Rivers on the other hand, just lost to a very inexperienced Atlanta Hawks team in the Eastern Conference Finals. Rivers’ 76ers were playing with superstar Joel Embiid not 100% healthy, but Lue dealt with many more injuries this season than Rivers did this year for the Sixers.

Lue obviously even dealt with his number one player in Leonard going down for the last two games of the Western Conference Semifinals, and still won the series in six. It’s not all Rivers’ fault for what happened in Philadelphia, but he deserves some of the blame, and shouldn’t have decided that the Clippers weren’t going to be ‘much different’ this year.

Next. It was a long road, but it was worth the wait. dark

They were, and not only did Lue outcoach Rivers this year, but he outcoached what Rivers was last year as well.