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Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James shoved coach David Blatt during Tuesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, but he insists that he was just protecting him.
While everyone remembers the shoulder bump with Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during their first season together on South Beach, James was keen to explain himself this time round and dismiss any controversy over his actions.
James shoved Blatt towards the bench as his coach came between him and a referee to argue an offensive foul call called against the 30-year-old in the second quarter of the loss.
With the Cavs losing eight straight games and falling to 19-20 for the season, naturally things aren’t great at the franchise at this stage and the media have looked further into the situation.
After footage emerged earlier this season of James not allowing Blatt to take control of team-talks in timeouts, this latest episode could have spiralled into a media field day. However, James put a stop to it straight after the game.
“I got called for an offensive foul, and they said I hooked one of the Morris twins on a post-up when he grabbed me,” James said after the game.
“It was a referee that was away from the play [who called it]. I was talking to Eric Lewis, one of the other refs, and Coach Blatt was getting a little fired up about it, too, and he was on his way to a technical. So I just got him up out of the way before he got a T. So, just protecting my coach.”
Blatt agreed with his star player’s assessment and insists that he was also trying to protect him by arguing that he had taken some hard hits during the game. Nevertheless, James putting his hands on the coach and taking centre stage again isn’t likely going to help in keeping the media chatter to a minimum.