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Coach Tyronn Lue takes the blame for altercation between LeBron James and Tristan Thompson

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Last nght, the NBA’s defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers faced off against the Indiana Pacers inside Quicken Loans Arena, resulting in a 135-130 double-overtime victory for the home team.

During the final overtime period of last night’s game, LeBron James and Tristan Thompson became involved in a bit of an on-court scuffle after a blown coverage assignment on Pacers guard Paul George.

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue explained the series of plays during his post-game media availability. The Cavs were attempting to suppress George’s perimeter shooting with a style of defense called “top lock.” Basically, James was meant to stick on George like glue around the three-point line. In last night’s “top lock” instance, Thompson was supposed to give up his perimeter defense, allowing James to guard George more freely. However, on George’s first three-point attempt of the second overtime, both Thompson and James rushed to close out on the shot. On George’s second three-point attempt of the final overtime period, neither James nor Thompson made a closeout attempt. Subsequently, George knocked down the shot and cut Cleveland’s lead to just one point with 49.7 seconds remaining in the game.

The ensuing discord between James, who was clearly vocalizing his anger on the court, and Thompson, who was also expressing his displeasure, prevailed all the way to the locker room. James and Thompson addressed the tense moment to members of the media with regards to his frustration after last night’s win.

 

Coach Lue, who made several attempts at calming James and Thompson when they began to argue last night, accepted the blame for the late-game debacle and says that it only proves the Cavs do, in fact, care about defense.

Via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“My fault. It was my fault,” Lue said as he shook his head with a smile. “Blame it on me.”

‘We care about our defense,” coach Lue said with a rather direct demeanor.

“The game’s on the line, you want to win,” Lue continued. “Paul George makes a tough shot, they (the Pacers) get into it. That’s part of the game. You like to see that passion, and a lot of times take it out on the other team. They were both mad and frustrated, but that’s what you want to see. We wanted to win that game and it was a big play. Some miscommunication right there, but they got over it.”

Sometimes, a heated moment of anger opens the door of honesty. How many times have you fought with your friend, teammate, or co-worker over an issue, only to later become even closer with that individual. Maybe this little run-in was just what the doctor ordered.

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