Cavaliers coach David Blatt thought coming to the NBA ‘was going to be a breeze’

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When the Cavaliers hired David Blatt to coach the team last summer, it was a very different job than the one he ultimately got.

Blatt was hired long before LeBron James made the decision to return to the franchise, so Blatt believed he’d be charged with rebuilding around Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and the first overall pick in last year’s draft, Andrew Wiggins.

Things changed immediately once James came to town, obviously, and the Cavs started adding pieces around him that would put them in a position to contend for a title, and do so immediately.

Because of the franchise’s sudden change of course, Blatt encountered a far more difficult transition to the NBA than he had initially envisioned.

From the Associated Press (via SLAM):

Blatt — a wildly successful coach in Europe before getting his long-awaited chance to lead an NBA team for the first time last season — was a panelist on Monday at a scouting school in Las Vegas, part of a group that was discussing some of the ways coaches prepare for games at various levels. And he detailed several differences between the European game and the NBA one.

“When I came to the NBA I was under the impression that this was going to be a breeze,” Blatt said. “I’ve been coaching for 23 years at the highest level in Europe. I coached in the national-team environment, coached professional teams, coached Euroleague teams and I thought I thought I knew basketball and I thought I knew how to coach. Which, in my mind, I did.

“But I realized that when I came over here it was a very, very different game with a whole new set of problems and a whole slew of things to deal with inside and outside of the game.”

That “outside of the game” part is what was likely the biggest issue.

Blatt was forced to try to manage the ego of the game’s greatest player, and by most accounts, he failed miserably. LeBron threw him under the bus and diminished his coach’s importance more than once, which forced Blatt to do what he could, while acquiescing to his star player consistently.

The Cavaliers did get to the Finals, though, and Blatt will be back on the sidelines next season — which means he was more than smart enough to eventually figure things out.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.