INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott tries to keep his cool.
But following Friday night’s embarrassing 117-99 loss to the Pistons in Detroit, Scott had it and came close to losing his cool for the first time in a very long time.
“I was pretty upset,” Scott said.
The Cavaliers’ coach held a closed door post game meeting with his team in the locker room to set a few things straight.
Although angry, he stopped short of the old fashioned tipping the buffet table, knocking over coolers or throwing and breaking things which have been know to happen in such meetings involving coaches or managers in sports in an effort to get their team’s attention.
“No, I didn’t have anything to break,” Scott said. “Couldn’t find anything. Locker room was way too small to be throwing stuff because you probably would hit a player and [he'd get] hurt; you’d cut him or something like that.
“I wouldn’t dare do that.”
Their effort and level of play was completely unacceptable at Detroit in Scott’s eyes.
“I know we are better than that,” Scott said.
Effort and intensity shouldn’t be an issue for the Cavaliers.
“The biggest thing about it is we’ve got to come out every day, every night, shootaround, practice, whether you’re here by yourself, games, and we’ve got to be willing to get on the floor and leave it all out there,” guard C.J. Miles said. “Energy should not be a problem for a team where the oldest guy is Luke, who doesn’t play heavy minutes. The guys with heavy minutes, the oldest guy is 22-23 years old. Should never be a problem, especially starting the game.”
A day later Miles and the rest of the Cavaliers responded by shocking the defending Western Conference champs – Oklahoma City with a 115-110 victory at home in front of a sellout crowd. The effort against the Thunder was of little surprise to Scott.
Friday night’s against the Pistons was.
“You scratch your head more on [Friday's] game because our guys go out and lay an egg like that,” Scott said. “That one was kind of more mind boggling than the way we came out against OKC because I knew after the way we played that game, closed door meeting after the game, I said my piece. Then we came out the next night, I knew we were going to come to play. I knew we were going to come out and compete and play hard and play with energy because No. 1 OK, the best record in the league, best team in the league. And I knew just from fear of being embarrassed we were going to come out and compete.”
The contrast in intensity and focus between Friday and Saturday night’s games is alarming but not fixable. Miles, who is a 7 year veteran, understands exactly where Scott was coming from.
“He was upset, as he should be and as we should be,” Miles said. “He laid it out there. He asked us, ‘Do you guys believe that you’re a 13-30 whatever record?’ The answer is no. It shouldn’t take the big teams to come in here for us to be able to come out and play that way. They asked me a question before [Saturday's] game and I said if we don’t come out here tonight and play together tonight, we’re going to get embarrassed. They’re going to embarrass us on our home floor, and they’re going to run us out of the gym. The biggest thing about that is it shows the competitiveness the guys have. But we can’t come out thinking that we should just win games based on talent, no matter who it is.”
Scott thinks his team got the message but he will find out Wednesday night when they host Charlotte because he’ll be looking for the same effort that he saw against the Thunder when they take on the 11-35 Bobcats.
“We’re a 14-35 team,” Miles said. “Teams come into our building thinking the same thing. They think, ‘We should beat them.’ They look at our record like we look at other teams record and look down at them…what have we proven? Our biggest thing is we’ve got to come out here and prove it’s going to be tough to play against us. There are going to be times things go wrong and we’re going to lose games. But we shouldn’t lose games the way we’ve been losing.”