Sure, sure, the Cavaliers ended up winning Sunday — just barely.
But as details emerge about the waning moments of one of the ugliest games of the playoffs, it makes us wonder just what kind of ship their head coach is running in Cleveland.
For starters, David Blatt admitted that he "almost blew it" by signaling for a timeout when his team had none left.
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You can see Blatt here on the sidelines, having to be restrained by one of his assistants:
Had the coach been noticed by a referee, it would have cost the Cavaliers dearly, as they’d have been assessed a technical foul.
But hey, maybe that’s forgiveable. It’s Blatt’s first season as an NBA coach, and at least he owned up to the near-disastrous gaffe:
And indeed, everything worked out OK in the end for the Cavs, because LeBron James pulled off this stunner:
But the plot thickened later Sunday when we learned that James’ amazing buzzer-beater really only materialized after LeBron himself apparently overruled Blatt on the final play call.
"The play that was drawn up, I scratched it," James said after the game (hear his remarks in the video atop this story). "I told Coach, ‘Just give me the ball.’"
It’s unclear what exactly the play call was, but it apparently involved having LeBron in-bound the ball with about 1.5 seconds left — which, we agree, wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.
Not to pile on poor Blatt here, but after LeBron explained some of the play, even other Cavs concurred:
Obviously, despite the victory, this is not the best look for Blatt or the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization. It gives the impression to some that no one’s really at the helm, or that the guy who’s paid to be there is too inexperienced to handle the big moments. Of course, deferring to your star player is not a novel concept, but it’s been pretty clear for much of the season that LeBron — quite literally — calls the shots for Cleveland.
When the team’s winning, no big deal. When they’re losing, could be bad news for Blatt.