Daily NBA Fix: Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers Take A Little Pressure Off Themselves

Jan 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue reacts after a 114-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue reacts after a 114-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyronn Lue must command the respect of the locker room, and avoiding arrogance is a good first step.

The Cleveland Cavaliers held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-107 last night for coach Tyronn Lue’s first win as an NBA head coach. One hopes he handles it better than the ousted David Blatt.

In case you hadn’t heard the story, things apparently never had a chance in Cleveland as Blatt basically upstaged his players last season when he won his first NBA game.

"That night, the Cleveland Cavaliers had defeated the Chicago Bulls for their first win of the season and Blatt’s first win as an NBA coach. The players waited for him in the locker room, and when he emerged from his office they mobbed him, mussed his hair and yelled. They presented him with the game ball. Blatt accepted it with a smile, but he was also annoyed.“Not all of you know me that well,” Blatt told the media, “but I’ve probably won over 700 games in my career.”"

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That wasn’t the best way to endear yourself to your players unless they were big Maccabi Tel Aviv fans, Blatt’s last stop before the Cleveland Cavaliers. Don’t get me wrong, I think many of these other leagues around the world are very competitive, but they aren’t the NBA.

From Day 1 it seemed Blatt was more interested in letting us know he wasn’t a rookie coach than accepting that most of his players probably couldn’t name any of the leagues he had coached in before the NBA.

I think even if he were a coach like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (despite his international success with some NBA players) who had won multiple NCAA titles, he’d have to show some humility when coming to the big show. The rest of the world isn’t the NBA.

Perhaps the stories of Blatt being perturbed by the rookie label are overblown, but nonetheless he lost the locker room quicker than expected in Cleveland, by all accounts.

So how did Lue take winning his first NBA game?

"Lue was presented the game ball in the locker room following the win.”It’s only been two games, but to get my first head coaching win, it means a lot,” he said. ”I came in the locker room, the team presented me with the game ball, LeBron gave a speech and they all gave me a hug and said congratulations.””It’s a special moment for anyone,” James said. ”It could be a rookie player, a rookie head coach. When you get that first win it’s very special. You never forget it.”"

Damn. Why don’t you turn the knife some more LeBron?

It is obvious he and Blatt never had a good relationship, and but I think he knew exactly what he was saying and more importantly what they meant there. There is no doubt that LeBron had a hand in Blatt’s firing, but he’s only turned the pressure up on himself as he’s now removed pretty much anyone else he could blame for failure.

I don’t think he ever blamed Blatt for anything, but what mattered was there was never a good relationship between the players and their former head coach.

I think the Cavaliers have tried too hard to immediately show that things were different with Lue. The story about Lue wanting the team to do player intros at home seemed almost to be fake, in the sense that I was imaging Onion headlines to parody it. “Lue takes away LeBron’s Xbox,” “Lue expects Cavaliers to do their chores before going outside to play,” and so on.

It may be a bit forced right now, but it seems Lue isn’t waving his two NBA titles in anyone’s face and demanding respect.

Things have to change in Cleveland to win a title, and it looks like Lue is off to a good first step in winning his second game since taking over for the team.

The Golden State Warriors Are On A Warpath

The Golden State Warriors didn’t just beat the San Antonio Spurs last night 120-90. They destroyed them.

The Warriors made 10 percent more of their shots than the Spurs did, and San Antonio’s league-best defense wasn’t there last night for them. It seems every time the Warriors are about to fall out of the headlines for anything but their record pace, they have a game like this where they make a statement.

Sure, it was just a regular-season game, but at least when the ball was first tipped, both teams were planning on making a statement.

I really don’t know what to write about Golden State. It is hard to write about near perfection than just saying this might be the best team I’ve ever watched play basketball. The pressure is on them as well, but not as much as is on LeBron, to win another title because they really have no excuse not to.

Cousins Is A Monster

How does one follow up a career-best game in points? By breaking the record in the next game.

He set a new personal high of 48 on Sunday but on Monday in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets he broke his own record and set a new franchise one as well with 56 points. That’s 104 points in two games.

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The Sacramento Kings aren’t looking like the trainwreck they were to start the season and Cousins and coach George Karl don’t seem ready to get rid of each other anymore. The Kings win streak ended at five, but they are looking more and more like a playoff team despite their 20-24 record.