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Lakers are 'still the team to beat,' says the Cavaliers' Byron Scott

The Cleveland coach, who helped the Lakers win titles in the Showtime era, says he doesn't regret taking helm of the post-LeBron James Cavaliers.

January 12, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Cleveland Coach Byron Scott won three NBA championships with the Lakers during the Showtime era of the 1980s.
Cleveland Coach Byron Scott won three NBA championships with the Lakers… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire )

The road the Lakers have traveled this season has had some bumps at times.

That's to be expected, Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Byron Scott said.

Winning championships is never easy, Scott said, especially when a team is trying to win three consecutive NBA titles like the Lakers seek.

"I understand what they are going through," said Scott, who won three NBA championships with the Lakers during the Showtime era of the 1980s. "But the season is never going to be — for any team, especially the champions — it's never going to be where it's just an easy sail.

"You're going to have your ups and downs during the season. You're going to play some bad games. You're going to have some bad stretches. But when it's all said and done, I think they are still the team to beat."

Scott saw firsthand how good the Lakers can be.

His young and injury-riddled team got trounced by the Lakers, 112-57, Tuesday night at Staples Center.

It was a franchise-low for an opponent in the shot-clock era. It was the third largest margin of victory by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers have won five consecutive games.

That was another indication to Scott that the Lakers are moving in the right direction.

"I still think they are going to be right there," Scott said. "But that's what happens when you're used to winning. When you win on a consistent basis and you've got the guy that's the ultimate competitor in Kobe [Bryant], who wants to win every game, it's not good enough right now."

When Scott took over the Cavaliers last summer, he did so not knowing if LeBron James was going to return to Cleveland.

James eventually joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

"When I took the job, I always kind of took it saying, 'If he's not here, we've still got some pretty good pieces here that we work with,' " Scott said. "So I took the job knowing that it could be half full, per se, knowing that he could skip and go somewhere else. I also said, 'If he's here, great. We've got a team that can contend for a championship.' My decision wasn't based solely on what he was going to do. It was based on what I thought we had at that particular point. Do I regret that decision? By no means."

Scott could have sat out this season and waited for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson to retire, with the hope that he could be next in line to coach Los Angeles.

Scott said he didn't put in any stock in the possibility that he could be the next Lakers coach if he waited.

"I can't think about what's going to happen in the next two or three years, to be honest with you," Scott said. "I thought about what was happening at that particular point. I wanted to take what I thought was the best opportunity, which I still think is.… And I thought so, no matter what LeBron was going to do. I'm still very happy about my decision."

The Cavaliers now have lost 21 of 22 games.

But Scott likes what he has seen from his players.

He said they have a great attitude and work hard despite their shortcomings.

"The wins haven't been there like I've wanted them to," Scott said. "But I'm still having a lot of fun teaching these guys and really trying to make them understand what it is to be in this league and how important it is for them to get better each and every day."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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