Cavaliers star LeBron James appeared to push coach David Blatt during Tuesday night’s 107-100 loss to the Suns in Phoenix.
The incident recalls James bumping Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on his way to the sideline during a Nov. 2010 game against the Mavericks. That season ended with Miami reaching its first of four consecutive Finals.
The push on Tuesday night comes after a media report surfaced in late December regarding Cleveland’s concern about Blatt’s ability to “to reach the team.”
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has come out in support of the first-year coach, saying earlier this month that the “narrative of our coaching situation is truly ridiculous.”
After the game, Blatt and James downplayed the exchange, with Blatt explaining that James was trying to prevent him from receiving a technical foul. James shrugged off the incident as well, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
Prior to Tuesday night’s loss, James had not played since Dec. 28 due to a strained back and knee.
He scored a team-high 33 points on 11-for-18 shooting, recorded seven rebounds and dished out five assists in 37 minutes. Forward Markieff Morris led the Suns with a career-high 35 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The loss dropped the Cavaliers, which were viewed as a championship contender in the preseason but have dropped six straight and nine of their last 10 games, to 19-20. The Suns improved to 23-18.
Cleveland now sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference while Phoenix is three games ahead of the Thunder and Pelicans for eighth place in the West.
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