David Blatt “Almost Blew It” for the Cavs Twice in the Final Minute (Videos)
Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt has been under heavy scrutiny all year. Not only did his team of high-priced superstars get off to a sluggish start, but at times it has looked like LeBron James is the one actually calling the shots.
Last night’s coaching performance only made things worse. During the final minute of Game 4 between the Bulls and Cavaliers at the United Center, Blatt nearly blew the game not once but twice. It was easily the worst single minute of his coaching career. And that’s not hyperbole.
His first gaff came after Derrick Rose tied the game with 8.4 seconds left on the clock. Blatt walked onto the court calling for a timeout—a timeout his team did not possess. If his assistant coach hadn’t grabbed him and pulled him back before the officials saw him, the Cavs would have been handed a technical, and the Bulls would have gotten a couple of free throws and possession. Which means the LeBron buzzer-beater probably wouldn’t have happened.
Take a look:
As bad as that was, Blatt’s next gaff was actually worse. On the ensuing possession, the Cavaliers brought the ball down the court, when a Bulls player knocked it out of bounds over the baseline with 1.5 seconds left. While the refs looked at the replay to make sure they got the possession call correct, Blatt drew up a play for the last shot. And for some inexplicable reason he had LeBron, the greatest basketball player on the planet, inbounding the ball.
If Blatt didn’t have LeBron taking the final shot, that would have been okay. He could have argued that LeBron could draw defenders away from other players, leaving them better looks. But having LeBron take the ball out of bounds? Everybody knows that is insane. LeBron himself basically said as much after the game.
“To be honest, the play that was drawn up, I scratched it…I was supposed to take the ball out. I told coach, ‘There’s no way I’m taking the ball out, unless I can shoot it over the backboard and it goes in.’ I told him, ‘Have somebody else take the ball out, give me the ball, and everybody get out of the way.'”
As for Blatt, after the game he admitted that he “almost blew it” by trying to call that timeout. However, we don’t know what he was thinking on that final play. Maybe he’ll enlighten us before Game 5 on Tuesday.