Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is a self-described “very big supporter” of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has won more Super Bowl championships than any other bench boss in the history of the National Football League.
But Lue gave credit where it was due when he attributed the Patriots’ ability to overcome a 25-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons and win the first-ever overtime Super Bowl at NRG Stadium Sunday night to New England quarterback Tom Brady.
“I think he’s one of the greatest of all-time in all sports, but last night, he didn’t have much to do with that,” Lue said of Belichick at Monday shootaround ahead of tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.
“It was all about Tom Brady, and that’s the luxury you have when you have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Just get the ball to them and say, ‘Listen, just make it happen,’ and that’s what Tom Brady did last night.”
The Patriots were down by 25 points, but certainly were not out, and they fought their way to a 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons when Brady engineered an eight-play, 75-yard drive that running back James White finished off with a one-yard touchdown run around right end in the extra session.
Brady completed 43 of his 62 attempts for 466 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, which the Falcons returned 82 yards for a touchdown.
“I know with the Patriots and our team, we have greats, and when you have a LeBron James on your team or a Kyrie Irving, who is great, having Tom Brady and one of the best coaches of all-time in all sports, you’ve just got to have that belief,” Lue said. “When you have someone to will you home and will you all the way in, it’s tough to beat, and that’s what they did last night.”
With the Patriots trailing by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter, Brady completed 16 of his 21 throws for 196 yards and one touchdown in the final 15 minutes of regulation. In the extra session, Brady completed five of his six throws for 50 yards.
In leading the largest comeback in NFL postseason history, Brady became the first quarterback ever to win five Super Bowl titles.
“I just always thought they could do it,” Lue said. “I just always had faith, and I just kept believing like, ‘They are going to win this game.’ When they were down eight, and then, they had the chance to go down 11, I said, ‘Okay, it could be over.’ When they didn’t, I said, ‘Okay, they’re going to win the game.’ The whole time, I just felt like they had a chance to win that game and they did, so it was crazy.”