Even when LeBron tried to praise Blatt, he added things like, “What other coach do we have?”
But maybe their relationship has finally turned a corner.
LeBron on Blatt, via Brad Bournival of the Boston Herald
“He’s been great,” star forward LeBron James, the four-time NBA MVP, said. “He’s prepared us to go out and give us the best chance to win a ballgame. For us as players, we have to go out and do that.”
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This is big progress, and it comes at an important time. But winning cures all ills, and the Cavaliers – who lead their first-round series against the Celtics, 2-0 – have won a lot lately.
Will LeBron’s confidence in Blatt survive a few losses? What happens if Cleveland trails in a series?
The best answer is not to find out.
Blatt has improved as a coach since earlier in the season, which is to be expected from an NBA rookie. LeBron surely recognizes that, though he has always credited players over coaches more than most do (as his quote reflects). LeBron – playing with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and a solid support cast – doesn’t need Blatt to be a great coach. Not this early in the playoffs, at least.
But LeBron needs a cohesive team as the Cavaliers advance deeper, and the best way to achieve that is enabling Blatt. As long as LeBron supports the coach, everyone else should fall in line – and that makes winning a lot easier.