LeBron James and the Cavaliers do not respect their head coach, David Blatt. Plain and simple. And honestly, why should they?
Before I crush Blatt, yes, players do change plays all the time. But when they share that information after the game, they don’t do it in the snarky tone that LeBron did. Part of that is the dramatics of the player, but this says more about LBJ’s opinion of Blatt. I hear what you’re saying ‘Bron, but your tone tells how you really feel.
James could have simply said something along the lines of, “with 1.5 seconds on the clock, we talked it over and changed the play to get me the ball.” But David Blatt is an idiot, and LeBron let us know.
The reality of it is that the Cavs are winning games despite having Blatt as their coach. He was a very accomplished coach overseas, but his struggles in the NBA haven’t been “growing pains,” they’ve been bone headed mistakes.
“I almost blew it,” Blatt said postgame about this incident (which I’m sure you know of by now).
Oh, really?! You almost blew it when you tried to call timeout in the final seconds of a playoff game in which you had none left? It was pretty clear that you had just used all three of your final timeouts on the previous possession. I didn’t forget … so how the hell did you?
I’ve heard the comparison that this would have been a Chris Webber type situation had the refs caught Blatt signaling for the TO. Nope, this was worse. Webber was a college kid that was dealing with the pressure of a double-team on the basketball court. Blatt is an NBA coach on the sideline of the game. It’s his job to know this stuff … it’s his job to remind his team of this stuff! Not be saved by the assistant coaches.
But hey, refs didn’t see it. Blatt got bailed out of not only costing his team a technical, but got a free timeout to draw up the final play, while the refs reviewed how much time should be on the clock. A free timeout, and Blatt comes out of it with a play where LeBron is inbounding the ball. Are you kidding me?!
J.R. Smith has never been the brightest bulb in the room. Here was his reaction after the game: “LeBron inbounding the ball? Are you sure?”
It’s not even like LeBron was looking for Kevin Love (done for the season) or Kyrie Irving (banged up on the bench) in this situation. Why are you even overthinking this, Blatt? 1.5 seconds on the clock, you’re on the road in the playoffs. This is an easy call. You give the ball to your best player and let him get off a shot for the win — especially when your best player happens to be the best player in the world. That’s a pretty nice luxury to have, but I guess Blatt doesn’t see it that way. Whatever, I’m sure Matthew Delavedova would have hit the shot too, David.
I hate when people say that they could have done a better job at something in professional sports, because typically it just sounds stupid. But I could have done a better job coaching the final minute of Game 4 than David Blatt. I’ll even give him a free tip: Next time you have the ball on the final possession in a tied game, give LeBron James the ball.
Blatt did everything he could to cost Cleveland this game. A loss would have put the Cavs in a 3-1 hole, and likely cost them the series and their season.
The Cavs still managed to win, though. But at this point, they’re going to have to try and keep winning while they drag the dead weight of their coach behind them.
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