Ever been one game away from setting a record for most games played for an NBA franchise, then unceremoniously benched during the game that was supposed to be your record-breaking game?
Me neither. But Zydrunas Ilgauskas has.
From The Plain Dealer:
Dear Mike Brown,
You blew it.
That’s all I can say about your decision not to play Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a single second in the Cavaliers’ 111-95 victory over Dallas at Quicken Loans Arena Saturday night.
You had to know Ilgauskas would set the all-time franchise record for games played the next moment he steps on the court.
You also should have been aware that your 7-3 center told reporters a few days before the game that the record “is more valuable than the rebounds and blocked shots (which he also holds). … With everything that I went through, to know that I put on a uniform more than anyone else in the 40 years [with the Cavs] is pretty good.”
Ouch. A low blow from Brown to Ilgauskas, at the worst possible time. If you ask me, I’ve been thinking the Cavs should go with a quicker, more fast break-oriented offense for years. After all, they have the best finisher (probably) in the history of the game. Why not cater to his strengths with a small and quick lineup?
But not that way, Mike Brown, and not at that time. Just play Zydrunas ten minutes during the game so he can get his record. That’s all you would have had to do. Now, you ruined his night, caused some bad blood, and for what? So you could win by 16 instead of 14 or 15?
Playing a smaller lineup, if you ask me, is how Brown should utilize his team’s talent. He just picked the wrong time to do it.