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Tyronn Lue discusses coaching against cousin Jayson Tatum in East Finals

Tyronn Lue earlier this week weighed in on how a familial conflict of interest has come into play with the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Lue, 41, is a first cousin once removed with Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ 20-year-old rookie-turned-rising star. Lue and Tatum’s father, Justin, are first cousins. The younger Tatum frequently attended family barbecues hosted by Lue in Mexico, Mo., a two-hour drive from his hometown of St. Louis. The Tatums would often attend Lue’s annual 4th of July celebration as well.

While Lue hopes for nothing but the best for Tatum, the ties that bind will be put on hold once the Eastern Conference Finals start with Game 1 on Sunday at TD Garden.

“It’s tough because you want to see him do well, but not against you,” Lue said, smiling, via “We just have to try to take him and be physical with him and not let him get easy baskets. He’s going to score because he can post and he can put it on the floor, but we just have to try to take away his easy baskets as much as possible.”

Tatum has been a revelation for the undermanned Celtics this postseason, performing in a manner that belies his NBA inexperience. Tatum is averaging 18.8 points in the playoffs, nearly five points higher than in the regular season, while averaging about five more minutes.

“Just seeing ‘Little J’ when he was six or seven years old and now to who he is today is crazy,” Lue said. “Seeing the player he’s become, we knew he was going to be good, but now he’s at a whole new level. Now he’s an NBA player and playing at a high level it’s just good to see.”