Cleveland Cavaliers

Windhorst: To spite Blatt, Cavs “boycotted” game in Portland after losing to Warriors

The Cavaliers fired David Blatt today, replacing him with Tyronn Lue. This wasn’t a surprising development to anyone who watched the Warriors obliterate the Cavs on Monday, especially when they showed a distraught LeBron James — who never really seemed like he was in Blatt’s corner — commiserating with Lue on the bench.

However, according to Brian Windhorst, Blatt lost his players the first time they faced Golden State this season. One wouldn’t think that an 89-83 loss (Cavs’ preferred tempo) on Christmas at Oracle would cause so much drama, but apparently the Cavs were furious with Blatt.

“The players were so upset that he didn’t communicate with them, and that he didn’t give them the opportunity to understand and discuss the decision, that they basically boycotted the game the next night,” Windhorst said.

“They played a game in Portland and they got blown off the floor. They were never competitive from the first five minutes on against a Portland team that’s frankly not very good.”

(The Blazers beat the Cavs 105-76 the next day. Kevin Love led Cleveland with 13 points. The Cavs shot 36.4% from the floor, 60% from the line, and were outscored 34-12 in the first quarter. Oh, and Damian Lillard didn’t play.)

That’s not all.

So despite an 84-40 regular season record and taking the Warriors to six games in the Finals without two of their best players, the Blatt experiment was a failure in Cleveland. But could the Cavs’ decision lead to yet another gain for the Warriors? He came really close to joining Steve Kerr’s staff before last season.

Originally he gave Steve Kerr, at the time the newly-crowned head coach of the Golden State Warriors, a verbal agreement to join his coaching staff after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship.

At the same time, the Cavaliers were interested in Blatt for the head gig and reached out to his representatives for an interview request.

In a bit of an awkward situation, Blatt went to Kerr and asked for permission to seek the position. Kerr approved, even though he didn’t have to.

“Had Steve not been willing to allow me to interview for the job, I’d be in Golden State right now,” Blatt said. “It was by his good graces and the good graces of the Warriors to allow me to interview for the job because basically I had agreed already to go there.”

The Warriors’ bench is full, but it couldn’t hurt to see if Blatt is interested in coming to Golden State as a consultant. His expertise could come in handy if the Warriors face Cleveland again in June … although, let’s face it, the Warriors probably don’t need Blatt to beat the Cavs.

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