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Tyronn Lue.

Tyronn Lue downplays importance of opening night matchup with the Celtics

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When the NBA released its schedule for the new season, the opening night Eastern Conference Finals rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics was already an interesting clash.

Just eight days later, however, this encounter took on an entirely different meaning after Kyrie Irving was traded to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and multiple draft picks.

This huge subplot has made it one of the most eagerly anticipated games and is the perfect curtain raiser for the regular season on Tuesday night.

Despite all the hype surrounding the matchup from the outside, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue is not placing too much significance on it at this early stage.

"It's one game," Lue said. "I know both teams want to see each other, but at the end of the day, you don't win a championship by winning or losing the first game. So they're up for the game, they're ready for it, but that's not our main focus is playing Boston."

Irving himself has also looked to downplay the occasion by claiming "it's just hoops" and isn't looking to feed into the buzz around his immediate return to Cleveland where he spent his first six seasons.

One of the main talking points surrounding this game is focused on Kyrie and LeBron James.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five

The former Cavaliers point guard was reportedly no longer willing to play with LBJ and it appeared there was a breakdown in their relationship.

The pair have admitted they haven't spoken to one another since Irving's trade request and will come face to face for the first time since he was offloaded to Boston.

But it could all prove to be an anti-climax as King James is struggling to be fit to take part with an ankle injury that has kept him out of almost all of Cleveland's pre-season games.

"He went through probably one-fourth of the practice," Lue said on Sunday. "Some plays, teaching stuff, some just 5-on-0 offensive stuff, getting up and down the floor. He went through that stuff today, and he went and got cardio in the weight room."

Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

When asked if the superstar will be ready to play against Boston, Lue was non-committal saying it depends on how he feels and responds to treatment.

If James sits out, it'll be the first season opener he misses in his 15-year career.

But Lue feels that because of their summer moves, the team is now better equipped to deal with his absence, unlike the last three years where they were just 4-23 without the four-time MVP in the lineup.

"I think we'll be a lot better off," Lue said. "I think we got a lot of different pieces. We're deeper. A lot of versatile players. A lot of different lineups we can play. So it will be different, but I think we have a better chance, yes."

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Kyrie Irving
LeBron James

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