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Clippers' Ty Lue: 'I Don't Give a Damn' What Anyone Thinks About Resting Players

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 19, 2021

Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue doesn't want to hear the criticism about his decision to rest his star players heading into the postseason.

"I don't give a damn what anybody else thinks," he told reporters Tuesday. "And I don't listen to [criticism] anyway. We finally got everyone healthy."

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard sat the final two games of the regular season, and Patrick Beverley didn't play in the second leg of a back-to-back Friday. The Clippers finished as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and will face the No. 5 Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs.

George appeared in 54 games, his fewest for a full-length season with the exception of the 2014-15 campaign, when he missed all but the final six games of the year because of a leg fracture he suffered in the offseason.

Leonard was good for 52 appearances, a career low save for his 2017-18 campaign that saw him appear nine in games because of injuries.

Lue told reporters Friday that he thought "the most important thing is health" heading into the postseason. On Sunday, he said he would have his players zero in on conditioning heading into the first-round matchup, hoping to save the Clippers from being on the wrong side of a result because of their health in this postseason.

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That was a problem former head coach Doc Rivers pointed out after the team's Game 7 Western Conference Semifinal loss to the Denver Nuggets last season.

The first-year Clippers head coach has caught heat for resting players ahead of the playoffs in the past. In 2016, when he won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he spent the final weeks of the regular season giving his stars some nights off.

In 2017, he was criticized for resting Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in a nationally televised game, and the Big Three-less Cavaliers paid the price in falling to the Clippers.

Lue will have the last word if his strategy pays off in the series with the Mavericks.

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