March 15, 2011
Life can't be easy for Byron Scott at the moment.
When he was hired to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James(notes) had yet to become a member of the Miami Heat. The franchise was in flux, with both coach Mike Brown and GM Danny Ferry moving elsewhere following the 2009-10 season, but at least there was the hope that things would continue apace for the Cavaliers, James would return, and Scott would be coaching a championship contender.
Instead, the team has flopped miserably, winning just 12 times in 65 attempts, as James split for Miami, and Scott has been left to coach a team full of players that would struggle to earn 10-day contracts on even the most mediocre of NBA outfits. But that hasn't stopped Scott from complaining, throughout the season, about his team's attitude. The most recent example came following a 95-75 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, one that saw All-Star Thunder guard Russell Westbrook(notes) have his way amongst the Cleveland also-rans, finishing with a game-high 20 points.
Scott wasn't happy because, as near as we could tell, no Cav decided to risk destroying Westbrook's career by needlessly pushing him to the floor as he drove. Silly them. I'll let Scott, um, "explain?"
''He's a great player, but it gets to a point as a team where you say enough is enough and somebody has to knock him on his ass,'' Scott said of Westbrook. ''It's as simple as that, and that's where the heart part comes in. Or are you just going to keep backing down and taking it?''
Totally, tough guy. Knock that dude on his butt because he's better than you. When the tough get going, and the talented come to Cleveland, just push them to the ground. Because that makes you the better, and bigger, man.
And, hey, best case scenario? Westbrook has to leave the game, and you only lose by 12 points. Win-win, Byron Scott.
It's tough to do, in the face of his salient argument, but I'm going to have to disagree with Byron here. It's been two days since the game, but I've come to the conclusion that the Cavaliers didn't show a lack of heart or dedication to winning by not knocking Westbrook down as he drove. It was probably just that they didn't want to be complete and total jerk-holes.
Just my take.