Clippers owner: Blowing 3-1 series lead to Nuggets ‘really disappointed me’
The Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday formally introduced Tyronn Lue as the team’s new head coach, and team owner Steve Ballmer explained why a change needed to be made.
The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, an embarrassing elimination for a team that carried championship aspirations into the NBA bubble. The inexplicable and sudden end to the season led Ballmer to cut ties with longtime head coach Doc Rivers, ushering in the hiring of Lue, who served as a Clippers assistant last season.
Addressing the media Wednesday, Ballmer arguably stated the obvious when relaying his feelings about how the 2019-20 season closed for the Clippers with a such a disappointing whimper.
“I don’t think we played our best basketball most of the time we were in the bubble,” Ballmer said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. “The way we ended our season really disappointed me. My personality is all about winning.”
Regarding the Lue hire, Ballmer effusively praised his new head coach, who of course led the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016.
"We brought in the best coach possible, I think the best coach in the NBA, frankly."— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 21, 2020
– Steve Ballmer on Ty Lue
(h/t @clipsnation ) pic.twitter.com/wJ5CsrnoqK
Ballmer reportedly sought “dramatic change” following the Clippers’ playoff letdown, and a change in coaches certainly will bring that. Whether the Clippers make additional significant changes remains to be seen.
It goes without saying, of course, that Lue will be immediately under enormous pressure, as the Clippers are without question in win-now mode with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George headlining a talented roster.
Lue acknowledged as much during his introductory presser.
“I’m big on pressure cuz if you don’t have pressure, that means you’re not in a position to win a championship. I want to be one of the greatest coaches, and to do that, you have to win.”— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) October 21, 2020
Tyronn Lue on facing pressure with the Clippers.