David Blatt has been under fire for almost blowing game four and LeBron James says that’s the King’s fault.
LeBron James saved Game 4, and possibly the playoff chances, of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night with a buzzer-beater in game four to tie their second round NBA Playoff series with the Chicago Bulls at two games apiece.
Despite LeBron’s heroics in the 86-84 victory for Cleveland, though, a bulk of the narrative coming out of that game has been the missteps of head coach David Blatt.
That narrative caused James to show more heroics in a different way, coming in to try and turn the narrative from being a negative one surrounding his coach:
Considering all of the rumors and stories that have been brought to light regarding the Cavs and Blatt over the course of the season, it is somewhat refreshing to see the team’s biggest star coming to the defense of his coach. At least there’s some semblance of camaraderie and respect, even if it’s just to quiet down the media.
However, there’s a chance that LeBron’s comments may be a tad misguided. While his presence in Cleveland certainly doesn’t do anything to turn the microscope away from the team, this narrative from Game 4 isn’t primarily focused on him for good reason.
The evidence against Blatt in those final moments is a bit condemning. For starters, Blatt was seen blatantly trying to call timeout prior to what looked like it would be the final possession of the game when he didn’t have a timeout to call. That’s understandable if he wanted to draw up a final play (we’ll get to that in a second), but extremely problematic considering that the Cavs had no timeouts remaining. The officials never acknowledged the timeout, but if they had the Cavs would’ve been hit with a technical foul, and sent the Bulls to the free throw line with a chance to go-ahead.
Going back to the final play that Blatt did draw up after the Cavs got the chance to inbound with 1.5 seconds remaining, LeBron himself said that he waved off the final play to call his own number. In fact, some reports say that Blatt’s final play was to have LeBron inbounding the ball rather than being an option to take the potential game-winning shot. Why someone, much less someone who has an NBA head-coaching job, would think that’s a good idea is beyond me.
You can respect James for coming to the aid of his coach during yet another turbulent time, but it’s mostly falling on deaf ears partly because he created this controversy by telling the world he scratched the play. Blatt was in over his head in the final minutes of game four and he’s incredibly lucky that LeBron was there to take control.
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