David Blatt is in a no win situation.
He knows it. It goes along with the territory when you are coaching the league’s best player in LeBron James.
When James’ team wins, he gets the credit, and when his team loses, the coach takes the blame. Not LeBron.
So, the big to-do about James waiving off the play Blatt was calling in the huddle before the game winning shot, is nothing. Blatt wanted James to be the inbounder, probably to find J.R. Smith, who knocked down three shots from beyond the arc to get the Cavaliers back in the game.
James said he wanted the shot, and the coach obliged.
That’s why Blatt made the comments about “picking up the tab” in his post-game press conference. James wanted the check and Blatt gave it to him. There’s nothing to the story.
We’ve heard many people refer to the movie “Hoosiers”, about this situation, and we admit we thought the same thing.
In the movie, Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) was calling a play with the game on the line for another player, with his squad staring at the coach in disbelief. Hickory High’s star, Jimmy Chitwood, told the coach he would make it, and the play was changed.
No word whether or not Dale was skewered on Twitter the next day.
The other thing Blatt is being hammered about was trying to call a timeout when there were none to call.
We hate to tell people, but that’s on one of the assistant coaches. If you have ever coached at even the high school level, you know the head coach has assistants make sure he is aware of things like how many timeouts he has and the foul situation on individual players.
Our guess is that no one reminded Blatt the Cavs didn’t have any timeouts remaining.
And that’s not something he can say to the media and not sound like he is throwing someone under the bus.
And as usual, Blatt doesn’t get any credit for the wine and gold’s comeback from an 11 point deficit late in the quarter, and for the squad’s defensive effort in the fourth quarter which allowed Cleveland to have a five point lead with around two minutes left. That’s a 16 point swing.
Nor does he get credit for staying with Timofey Mozgov staying in the game in the fourth quarter because he was playing well. Blatt is a “feel” coach, and he played the hot hand, something he has done throughout the year.
As for the inbound play, we think James Jones, who was the trigger man on the play was a little too conservative and forced the use of at least one timeout. There appeared to be players open, but Jones didn’t want to make a mistake with a turnover.
It turned out, the refs forced the turnover anyway when they called an offensive foul on James, who was getting hit repeatedly by Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy Jr. when they were trapping James.
The point here isn’t to say Blatt is a perfect coach, but merely to point out that he is not a complete idiot either.
We have said from early in the season that Kevin Love and Blatt were the go-to guys whenever this basketball team had problems. And the national media is quick to point every flaw out because he’s an outsider in NBA circles. They don’t know him.
Yes, he’s arrogant. He’s confident in his ability to coach and win at any level.
He’s learning his way around the NBA and has become more humble at least to the media.
He just can’t win because of the situation. Just realize it’s a tough spot to be in.