CLEVELAND: He has told his players to ignore the calls and noncalls and to play through it, but Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is starting to get aggravated with some of the foul calls he believes the Cavs aren’t getting — particularly Tyler Zeller.
Zeller, a rookie, has been clobbered underneath the basket on shots to the point he has been forced to readjust the protective mask he wears, yet he isn’t getting many foul calls.
Zeller entered Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls averaging 2.2 trips to the free-throw line every night despite playing an average of about 22 minutes.
Per Scott’s instructions, and his own common sense, Zeller often keeps quiet and just runs to the other end of the floor. But sometimes he can’t help but complain to the officials.
“I try not to just because I don’t think you ever accomplish anything by it,” Zeller said. “But sometimes you can’t really help yourself. You just have to make sure you play through it.”
Scott has tried to keep quiet and not say much, in part because he doesn’t want his players whining to the officials every trip down the floor. Dion Waiters was perhaps gaining a reputation early on with all of his complaining, but Scott has successfully dialed him back in recent games.
Scott was asked if it’s worth a technical to get the officials’ attention on the no-calls, but he said one technical for him typically leads to ejections and fines because he’s a 0-to-100 kind of guy.
“I’m at about 50 right now the way they’re calling some of our games,” he said, “so I’m getting close again.”
Guys typically have to be in the league a few years before they start getting fouls called, so the Cavs’ youth hurts them. Scott doesn’t understand it and said Wednesday a foul should be a foul, regardless if it is on a veteran or rookie, but he has been around long enough to know the ways of the NBA.
“Referees are not going to give us a lot of calls, period,” Scott said. “I told our guys that before the season even started, so don’t cry about it, just keep playing. The only way we’re going to get their respect is just by playing hard every single night.”
Zeller, Dion Waiters and Kevin Jones had surprises waiting for them Wednesday. Scott gave each of them baby dolls and strollers to cart around for the foreseeable future. This comes a few weeks after Daniel Gibson gave the rookies pink backpacks to carry for the West Coast trip.
Gibson first mentioned the idea of babies and strollers a few weeks ago, but Scott said the strollers were his idea.
Scott gave Waiters a Caucasian baby he named Mary and Zeller an African-American baby he named LaQuisha. Asked how he spells LaQuisha, Scott laughed, “I have no idea.”
Jones didn’t get his baby until later on Wednesday and Scott said her name is “C.C.”
“It’s just going to give them a little bit more added responsibility,” Scott said. “I did that in New Orleans with our rookies. I didn’t want these guys to be off the hook.”
While Kyrie Irving’s fractured left index finger continues to heal, Scott couldn’t say whether there is a chance Irving returns earlier than the initial four-week prognosis. He has already missed about two weeks, but has been cleared to do everything except contact drills.
He was even scrimmaging some members of the Cavs’ staff in one-on-one pickup drills Wednesday morning.
“I know he’s anxious,” Scott said. “Like we’ve always done, we’re not going to take any chances. We’ll leave it up to the doctors.”
Scott said Irving will have to get at least one practice in before he’ll play him in a game.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.