Erik Spolestra

Lebron James’ major motion picture debut may have been a comedy, health but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his flair for drama.   On Friday, sickness the saga continued when the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt after being flanked and then obliterated by the Western Conference’s two top teams.  From one angle, pilule you could chalk it up to close not being good enough for the Cleveland front office who saw the writing on the wall for the Cavs to come out of the East again only to lose to the Warriors, Spurs or Thunder in 6 games.  But there’s always more to the story, and in this case, much more, in the form of an Adrian Wojnarowski story alleging that Lebron and company have had a version of this succession plan in place since day 1.  Woj, the master NBA Insider, purported that David Blatt never stood a chance against Lebron’s camp, who had moved on this season from their first choice in former Golden State head coach Mark Jackson, and had been clamoring for the promotion of assistant coach Tyronn Lue for months.  On Friday, Team James got their wish, when news of Blatt’s firing broke at 3:08 pm and Lue was quickly contracted to a multi-year deal reported at 3:17.

No one will argue that Blatt made mistakes and likely wasn’t the right person for a job that quickly went from developing a young talented roster over time to managing superstar personalities under win-now expectations as soon as Lebron decided to take his talents back to Northeast Ohio.  But with Blatt’s 30-11 record and the Cavs firmly atop the Eastern Conference, how much of a difference will a coaching change make?  And is there any evidence that Tyronn Lue can coach, and implement a new system with the current roster given only months until the playoffs?

Luckily for Bulls fans, these questions didn’t bother Cavs management, and we only had to sweat a few minutes imagining facing a Thibs coached Cleveland team at least four times a year.  It seemed all too perfect for Thibs for a moment since Lebron has consistently supported him over the years based on his time with Team USA, and lauded the tough Bulls defenses he had to face (yet easily destroyed) in the playoffs as far back as his first year in Miami.   While Lebron in a Thibs defense is a scary thought, maybe Thibs didn’t see the stars aligning in Cleveland where he would have had to manage two superstars covering up an awkward feud, a volatile ownership, and a point guard yet to play a full season in his entire career.  I think he’s seen that movie before.

However, it’s possible that a lack of the real coaching you would get from Thibs is part of why we never saw that 3rd, 4th or 5th promised championship from Lebron in Miami, or in his first stint in Cleveland, or even last season.  Lebron has always relied on his talent, of which he has a lot, and never really benefited from real coaching.  Dating back to Little Dru’s Dad at St. Vincent-St. Mary to Mike Brown to Erik Spoelstra to David Blatt, he’s always been somewhat of a player-coach. And maybe that’s what’s lacking in Northeast Ohio, where nothing is given and everything is earned.  But Tyronn Lue has been given the opportunity, and what comes next is, yet again, really up to the King.

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HOOP SCOOP FINAL

Hottest Game: Miami Heat vs. the San Antonio Spurs Sunday 3/31 at 6:00PM CT on NBATV

Heat vs. Spurs, purchase Source: NBA.com

Why? The Miami Heat are the talk of the sports world as they continue to shut down every team that comes their way. Their incredible winning streak is alive and well and by Sunday when they roll into San Antonio the red hot Heat will be looking to win their 30th game in a row! Yes, try you heard me I said 30th game in a row!

The longest winning streak in NBA history is 33 games, salve set by the LA Lakers during the 1971-72 season. It’s clear Miami has their eyes set on history, but Sunday’s matchup will be one of their toughest challenges yet as the San Antonio Spurs look like the most capable team to put an end to their streak.

The Spurs not only have championship pedigree but they also have the best record in the Western conference, and the second best record in the NBA behind none other than the Miami Heat. It will be the two best teams in the NBA (record wise) going head-to-head. Will San Antonio end Miami’s streak? Be sure to watch this hot game of the week to find out!

Hottest Story: Injuries Galore

Why? With 82 games in a regular NBA season, the key to winning it all is staying healthy. However, this time of year as the regular season winds down, injuries run rampart and begin to wreck havoc on teams that normally might have a shot in the playoffs.

This season is no different as many top players have fallen victim to the injury bug. Dwyane Wade of the Heat is out with a sore knee. Kevin Garnett of the Celtics is out with a sprained foot and Carmelo Anthony is in and out of the line-up for New York with knee problems. If that wasn’t enough Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets has missed games due to a ankle injury as well.

How will these teams respond with some of their stars sidelined with injury? Do these teams have the ‘depth’ to continue winning without their star players on the court? We’ll have to wait and see, because at this stage of the season every game counts and injuries can be the x-factor when attempting to make a playoff run.

Hottest Gossip: Los Angeles Lakers

Pau Gasol, Source: NBA.com

Why? Hollywood we have a problem. Lakers’ star Pau Gasol has returned after his 20-game absence but only shot 2-for-10 in the Lakers’ loss at home against the struggling Washington Wizards. Now, remember the Wizards are 6 and 26 on the road meaning they’ve only won 6 road games out of a possible 32 played. The Lakers should have won this game, but didn’t which has people talking.

One of those people “talking” happens to be their head coach Mike D’Antoni who called their championship aspirations right now “laughable”. Until they learn to play hard every night a championship is out of the question. Looks like D’Antoni has finally spoken up about the inconsistency of the Lakers but how will they respond?

Its getting “hot” in LA LA Land!

Hottest Couple: Erik Spoelstra and Nikki Sapp

Erik Spolestra and Nikki Sapp, Source: Yardbarker.com

Why? They say players shouldn’t date cheerleaders but they didn’t say anything about coaches dating them! Just take Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra for example whose dating former Heat cheerleader/dancer Nikki Sapp. Spoelstra became the head coach of the Heat in 2008 and Sapp didn’t retire as a Heat cheerleader until 2009 so you do the math divas! But the couple is happy, and were spotted together earlier this week on the red carpet at a charity event in Miami. I guess the players aren’t the only hot guys in south beach, huh?!

Term of the Week: Flopping

FLOPPER!

Why? The NBA is full of great actors and one of the roles many have perfected is that of a ‘flopper’. Flopping is when a defensive player intentionally falls to the ground without being pushed by the offensive player in order to draw a foul. You’ve seen this before. The ‘flopper’ will then look around to the officials and usually put his hands in the air as if saying “where’s the foul?” Flopping is being regulated more closely now in the NBA with fines given for repeat offenders, but don’t expect it to go away anytime soon – some of these NBA divas have got flopping down so well, it’s an art form.

Class is officially over. Until next week sports divas!

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