Cavs must maintain sense of urgency entering Game 4, Ty Lue says

Lue praises LeBron's Game 3 (1:13)

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue breaks down the differences playing on the road vs. at home and evaluates his team's Game 3 performance. (1:13)

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Saturday's Game 3, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had desperation on his side as his team played with a have-to-have-it edge in their 116-86 blowout of the Boston Celtics.

Now Lue is tasked with distilling that same sense of urgency for 48 hours heading into Monday's Game 4 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

"We know what it takes," Lue said after the Cavs' film session on Sunday. "We did it before. We've got a lot of veterans, a veteran crew and they know what it takes to win. We can't get satisfied with just one win. It's just one; we've got to come out [Monday] night and duplicate it again."

Indeed, four of the current Cavs were on the 2016 team that were a part of the first 3-1 comeback in NBA Finals history. And this year's Cavs team came back from down 2-1 to beat the Indiana Pacers in the first round.

Rather than beat his guys over the head with warnings that they aren't out of the woods yet, no matter how dominant they looked on Saturday, Lue used the film study to show his players the exact type of effort he wants to see again as the series moves on.

"Just remind them that this is the way we have to play," Lue said, before ratting off a series of things that Cleveland got right from the opening tip in Game 3.

There was George Hill pressuring Terry Rozier full court, getting a deflection and making the young point guard labor to just get the Celtics in any kind of set. There was JR Smith with so strong a denial on Jayson Tatum that Boston had to go to its second option on the play because Smith's physicality prevented Tatum from even receiving the ball.

And there was LeBron James, who provided a defensive anchor that Cleveland doesn't always get out of its four-time MVP.

"I thought [Saturday] night was one of LeBron's best games I've seen in a long time as far as helping, closing out to Jaylen Brown's chest, making him put it on the floor," Lue said. "Closing out to [Marcus] Morris. Closing out to [Marcus] Smart, so he did a really good job of just setting the tone of multiple efforts and that was good for us."

What was also good for Cleveland was the play of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. off the bench, flashing signs that they can emerge as the type of consistent contributors Cleveland thought it was getting when it traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for them back in February.

Clarkson, who was a DNP-CD in the Cavs' Game 2 loss to the Celtics, scored 9 points in 18 minutes. He shot just 3-for-11 from the field (3-for-7 from 3), but the mere volume of shots showed Lue that Clarkson was not overwhelmed by the moment.

"I don't think he's nervous," Lue said. "He's not scared or afraid at all. When you take 11 or 12 shots off the bench in the playoffs, you're not scared, you're not afraid, so that's what he does.

"He's just got to be smart, time and score when to do it, but he's doing a good job of just trying to be aggressive and attacking and I think he will make shots."

Clarkson's return to the rotation meant it was Rodney Hood's turn to receive a DNP-CD. Hood, as opposed to Clarkson, has looked overcome by his playing opportunities at times this postseason.

"When I'm on the court, it's always just basically shooting it with confidence," Clarkson said. "The more looks I get, I feel like they will go in."

Nance has collected two DNP-CDs out of the Cavs' 14 playoff games so far and had two more games where he played four minutes or less, but he played a big role in Game 3, scoring 8 points on 4-for-4 shooting in 21 minutes with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

"Larry knows his job," said Clarkson. "He's going to screen, he's going to roll, he's going to get rebounds and he's going to defend. I think his time is coming in this series."

Nance came into the postseason as the Cavs' backup center behind Kevin Love. Needing more toughness and experience in the lineup, Lue made Tristan Thompson the starting 5, shifting Love to the 4 and cutting Nance's playing time.

But Boston's size has since given the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Nance a second look.

"A series like this, where they play a lot of bigs, they'll go Morris, [Al] Horford, [Aron] Baynes and [Greg] Monroe, they have a lot of their big guys and they're super athletic, so if there's two things that I fit well against, it's athleticism and playing big," said Nance, who competed in the dunk contest over All-Star Weekend. "Hopefully, the coaching staff sees and deems it that I get more minutes."

Lue didn't sound like he was going to go away from playing Nance anytime soon.

"His energy, his athleticism, his ability to switch and guard multiple positions is good for us," Lue said. "When he's rolling to the basket, he got a couple dunks last night, and when they pull in to help, now you've got Kyle Korver and JR making 3s. His athletic ability and his force rolling to the rim is really key for us."

The emergence of guys such as Clarkson and Nance has the Cavs not only changing how people look at their series with the Celtics, but has the Cavs changing how they look at themselves.

"We're starting to figure out that LeBron doesn't have to take 20-some shots to beat a great team by 30," Nance said. "The rest of us are very good basketball players in our own right and it's nice to show that."