Los Angeles Times

TRENDING . . .

- — Eric Pincus

Blatt out, Lue in

Despite sitting atop the Eastern Conference in first place, the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday fired coach David Blatt. General Manager David Griffin said “decisions often make themselves” in the team’s announceme­nt. Perhaps the Cavaliers’ 132-98 loss Monday night, in Cleveland, to the Golden State Warriors was the final straw in Blatt’s brief tenure — despite his having helped the team to the Finals in 2015 as a rookie NBA coach.

Former Lakers guard Tyronn Lue was immediatel­y elevated to head coach and reportedly agreed to a new, multiyear contract, after serving under Blatt as the team’s associate head coach. Lue, who previously worked on Coach Doc Rivers’ staff with the Clippers, will try to guide

LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Ir ving back to the Finals. The Cavaliers’ franchise has yet to win an NBA title.

Steve Kerr back

After sitting out the Warriors’ first 43 games, Coach Steve Kerr returned to the sidelines after recovering from multiple back surgeries. Kerr, whose team defeated Blatt and the Cavaliers in the Finals last June, benefited from excellent work by assistant Luke Walton, who served as interim coach in Kerr’s absence. Walton’s 40-3 “record” to start the season goes entirely on Kerr’s resume.

Despite his official record of 0-0, Walton is under considerat­ion by the NBA to coach in the All-Star game on Feb. 14. Even with the Warriors owning the top record in the Western Conference, Kerr is ineligible to coach two years in a row, after guiding the West to a 163-158 victory in 2015. The NBA is still working to determine if Walton will get the nod over Gregg Popovich, coach of the second-place San Antonio Spurs. Meanwhile, Lue is expected to be on the East’s bench in Blatt’s stead.

All-Stars announced

On Thursday, the NBA announced 10 All-Star starters including Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry (Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the West. The East will be represente­d by James (Cavaliers), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat).

Worthy All-Star reserves

The NBA’s 30 coaches will add seven reserves to each All-Star squad. Deserving candidates in the West include the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, James Harden (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson and Draymond Green (Warriors), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) and Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers). But one of the above will be snubbed — presumably Lillard.

For the East, likely candidates include Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls), Andre

Drummond (Detroit Pistons), John Wall (Washington Wizards), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks) and Chris Bosh (Miami Heat). And honorable mention to an eighth contender, Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas.

Kidd returning

After undergoing hip surgery Dec. 21, Milwaukee Coach Jason Kidd is planning to return to the bench Tuesday when the Bucks host the Orlando Magic. The Bucks started the season slowly, winning 11 of their first 29 games under Kidd. Assistant Joe Prunty, who coached the team in Kidd’s absence, helped them win eight of 17. The 13th-place Bucks have significan­t competitio­n in the East but are still in contention for a playoff berth.

Celebratin­g MLK on the court

The NBA celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with four overtime games — two that went to double overtime. Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker scored a career-high 52 points in a victory over the Utah Jazz. Clippers guard J.J. Redick scored a career-best 40 points against Houston. Rockets center Dwight Howard also put up monster numbers in his team’s loss to the Clippers, scoring 36 points with 26 rebounds.

 ?? Tony Dejak
Associated Press ?? NO INTERIM coach, Tyronn Lue already has a multiyear deal with the Cavaliers.
Tony Dejak Associated Press NO INTERIM coach, Tyronn Lue already has a multiyear deal with the Cavaliers.
 ?? Alex Brandon
Associated Press ?? A TRIP to the Finals and the East’s best record didn’t save David Blatt in Cleveland.
Alex Brandon Associated Press A TRIP to the Finals and the East’s best record didn’t save David Blatt in Cleveland.
 ?? Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press ?? THE WARRIORS did for Steve Kerr what they’d done 39 times for Luke Walton: Win.
Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press THE WARRIORS did for Steve Kerr what they’d done 39 times for Luke Walton: Win.

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