It has been an interesting few days for Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt. Interesting season is probably more apt here, but the last few days have been especially interesting.
First, Blatt let it slip after Game 3 (a loss) that Kyrie Irving had been playing injured since the first round of the playoffs. Then, in Game 4, Blatt tried calling a timeout he didn’t have in the final minute:
Luckily for him, none of the officials saw it, so no technical foul was assessed.
The Cavaliers won Game 4 on a LeBron James buzzer-beater, and James made sure to say after the game that the play wasn’t originally called for him:
LeBron James' full explanation of how he overruled coach David Blatt on the final play of Game 4 win over Bulls pic.twitter.com/aDXjgmbzUI
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 10, 2015
Even more controversy was sparked when it was thought that J.R. Smith called Blatt’s initial last play call “dumb.” Only it turned out that Smith said there was some “doubt” about the play because LeBron was going to be the inbounder:
After listening to the JR Smith audio multiple times, correct quote is "There was DOUBT at first." Not "dumb"
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) May 11, 2015
Of course, Blatt defended himself for that first play call, although he did take responsibility for trying to call the timeout he didn’t have. In fine Blatt fashion though, the way he took responsibility was a doozy (via the Akron Beacon Journal):
“A near-mistake was made and I owned up to it and I own it,” Blatt said. “A basketball coach makes 150 to 200 critical decisions during the course of a game, something that I think is paralleled only by a fighter pilot. If you do it for 27 years, you’re going to blow one or two. And I blew one. Fortunately it didn’t cost us.”
The fighter pilot line naturally led to this:
David Blatt stars in Top Gun pic.twitter.com/uErP7AmiWv
— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) May 11, 2015
Blatt has taken a lot of heat all season, and now it’s reaching a fever pitch with the games mattering more and more. Just imagine if he WOULD have been caught trying to call that time out and the Cavaliers lost because of it. He’d never live it down.
It’ll be interesting to see if Blatt is the head coach next season in Cleveland. He was hired before LeBron came back, and if LeBron wants somebody else, he’ll surely get somebody else. It may not even matter how the rest of this season plays out.