NBA on David Blatt’s attempt to call timeout late in Game 4: ‘None of the three officials’ saw him signal for it


LeBron James hit the shot at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers a huge win that evened the series with the Bulls at two games apiece, but if it were up to his head coach, James would never have gotten the chance.

After Derrick Rose scored with 8.4 seconds remaining to tie the score at 84, Blatt walked onto the court and signaled for a timeout. Assistant coach Tyronn Lue practically tackled him to stop this before the referees noticed, because Cleveland was out of timeouts, and the officials could have whistled the Cavaliers for a technical foul had they responded to Blatt’s request.

“I almost blew it,” Blatt admitted postgame. “Good thing my guys caught it.”

The NBA, in its Last Two Minute report, ruled that the referees didn’t see Blatt attempt to make the call.

“Blatt (CLE) attempts to call a timeout when none remain. None of the three officials saw Coach Blatt signal for a timeout,” the report said.


Check out this video (via BBallBreakdown), which may — MAY — indicate that the baseline referee did in fact see Blatt signaling, but shook his head no because he knew the Cavaliers were out of timeouts.

Tough to tell, obviously, and as we’ve seen all season long with these reports, referees are hesitant to intervene in the game’s closing seconds. But there’s at least some doubt whether or not the report’s findings were, in this case, completely conclusive.

Despite injuries to both legs, Kyrie Irving says he will play in Game 5 Tuesday


His right foot has bothered him since Game 2 of the Boston series.

Now he has left knee tendonitis, which seems to bother him more than his foot injury.

But Kyrie Irving is not going to sit down.

Irving is not driving as much, not finishing when he does, and has shot 5-of-23 in his last two game. He’s not the same guy, which has put a heavier load on LeBron James. But Irving told Dave McMenamin of ESPN he will play Tuesday in a crucial Game 5 against Chicago, with the series knotted up at 2-2.

“If the consideration is now, then, I mean, I should have been sitting out maybe about four games ago,” Irving said. “I just … I can’t do it. Mentally, I can’t do it. I can’t look myself in the mirror and sit on the bench or sit in the locker room while I watch my teammates go out there.

“I’d rather give 30 percent, 40 percent, rather than give none at all. I just literally can’t do it. I can’t sit on the bench and be hurt and be OK with that. And still, I still know I can be effective. So whether I got to the free throw line eight times [like he did in Game 3, going 8-for-8], which I’m still happy about … My jumper may not be falling or the legs under me, but I’m just going to continue to just go.”

Less Irving means more LeBron having to carry the load and do it himself — he used 42.8 percent of the Cavaliers possessions when he was on the floor and only three of his 10 made baskets came off an assist.  Those kinds of numbers play right into Tom Thibodeau’s defense; it’s designed to stop isolation sets. LeBron hasn’t been efficient this series, and he’s not going to be with the defense focused on him.

Irving needs to give the Cavaliers something. So does J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, and others. Chicago’s offense hasn’t been pretty most of the time, but it’s getting up enough points to make this a series (especially thanks to Derrick Rose of late). Cleveland needs to find points that do not just come via LeBron.

The question is can Irving provide that right now?

LeBron James says coach Blatt only facing criticism “because he’s coaching me”


LeBron James is as calculating and polished a player interview as you will find in any sport (and most politicians). He’s been in the national spotlight since he was 16, and he gets it — he doesn’t say things on accident.

So when he said this about the final shot of Game 4:

“To be honest, the play that was drawn up, I scratched it. I just told coach ‘Give me the ball.’ We’re either going to go to overtime or I’m going to win it for us. It was that simple.”

It was clearly a shot at coach David Blatt. LeBron wasn’t even asked directly about the play design; he volunteered that up to throw Blatt under the bus. Combine that with Blatt almost calling a timeout when the Cavs didn’t have one and you can be sure Blatt’s job is not secure.

You can also be sure LeBron was going to backtrack some on Monday — he doesn’t want to be seen as a coach killer. Here are LeBron’s Monday quotes, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram (hat tip

Blatt deserves some criticism — and some praise. He has made some bad decisions in this series, the last play call being at the top of the list (in Europe it is common for the best player to inbound the ball, but you can’t do that with LeBron, you need his shot or at least his gravity to open up someone else). However, he’s made some good defensive calls (like finally putting Iman Shumpert on Derrick Rose and LeBron on Jimmy Butler last game).

If you want to believe Blatt and LeBron are all good, you go right ahead. We are a nation of ideas. If you want to believe that the moon landing was faked and that our government is savvy enough to keep an alien spacecraft at Area 51, you can believe those things, too.

Personally, I don’t think LeBron has called out Blatt twice during the playoffs on accident. But I do think he wants to protect his image.

Kyrie Irving (knee, foot) and LeBron James (ankle) plan to play Game 5


Kyrie Irving has been playing through a foot injury, and LeBron James rolled his ankle in Game 4.

Good news and bad news for the Cavaliers – Irving has another injury but both expect to play Game 5.

Chris Haynes of

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Game 5 is tomorrow, so not a short turnaround from Game 4. But Pau Gasol is also hurt, and Derrick Rose tends to play worse without multiple days of rest.

Both teams have injury concerns. At this point, the minimum postseason break (one day off) probably favors the Cavaliers.

They’ll probably just do what they’ve done throughout the playoffs – ask LeBron to carry them through their difficulties.

Dennis Schroder calls Paul Pierce’s game-winner ‘a lucky shot’



Derrick Rose’s game-winner? A lucky shot, according to Tristan Thompson.

Paul Pierce’s game-winner?

Dennis Schroder, via J. Michael of CSN Washington:

“At the end, it was a lucky shot and we lost the game,” Schroder said after scoring 16 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth to lead Atlanta’s comeback. “That’s a tough shot. I don’t think he makes it every time.”

Not one NBA player has ever taken a shot he’d make every time. That’s not the standard.

Pierce made this one. That’s all that matters.

Schroder played solid defense, but Piece likes that spot. Tough shot – yes. Lucky shot – no way.