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Tyronn Lue walks back Kyrie Irving’s “team to beat” comment

Cleveland Cavaliers v Oklahoma City Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 21 : Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers applauds during action against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 21, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

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Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving told reporters that, despite all their recent drama and inconsistent play, the Cavaliers are still the “team to beat,” at least in the Eastern Conference. Head coach Ty Lue likes the confidence, but he disagrees with his point guard’s assessment.

From Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“Our team is very confident,” Tyronn Lue said prior to Friday’s game in Atlanta. “When he says the team to beat, I would say the team to beat in the East. I wouldn’t say overall because Golden State won the championship last year so they’re the team to beat and they have the best record in the NBA right now. We’re confident we can get things done.”

Obviously, Lue is right — in the whole league, the Warriors are the team everyone is chasing. In the context of the Eastern Conference, things get a little more complicated. The Cavs have LeBron James, so they’re guaranteed to have the best player in any matchup they may draw in the first three rounds of the playoffs, but they’re far from invincible, especially given their recent play.