Byron Scott: “I don’t think I got a fair shake”

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When Byron Scott took the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010 they didn’t know yet if LeBron James would stay or go — although he had to know “go” was a good possibility the way things had shaken out the season before.

Scott, a veteran coach with a hard-nosed style, was in charge of a rebuilding project. They were not going to win much. He was tasked with helping his team grow.

After three seasons he was let go on Thursday. Scott spoke to the Plain Dealer about the experience.

“I’m disappointed, more than anything,” Scott said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think I got a fair shake.”

“I’ll land on my feet,” he said.

He will. He’ll get another shot, he’s respected around the league.

What did Scott in was defense — the Cavaliers were 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency this past season, they were 25th and 29th Scott’s  two other seasons. To be fair, injuries like the one this season to Anderson Varejao impacted those numbers, but the Cavs never really improved on that end of the court. It’s hard to say that Scott was building a defensive culture there.

The question becomes: Is an old-school, long practice loving, grinding coach a good choice for a young team? Cavaliers players talked about being worn down at the end of the season. There was frustration in the locker room. Young teams need rules and boundaries, but they also need positive reinforcement and was there enough of that in Cleveland?

Cleveland is a job that could draw a name coach — they have a franchise anchor in Kyrie Irving, some nice role players and a lot of cap space. They are a team built to take big leaps in the next few years, meaning this is an important hire for them. All the next coach wants is a fair shot.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)