<
>

Top stats to know: Cavaliers fire David Blatt

play
Why did the Cavs fire Blatt now? (2:39)

ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst explains the Cavaliers' decision to fire coach David Blatt and sign Tyronn Lue to a multiyear deal to replace him. (2:39)

The Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach David Blatt on Friday afternoon despite being in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record this season.

A look at the top stats to know on Blatt's dismissal:

Replaced while winning

The Cavaliers have a .732 win percentage at the midway point in the season. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that's the best win percentage at the time of the head coach being replaced in NBA history (minimum 10 games into the season).

Blatt is the third coach in the past 40 seasons to be fired the season after an NBA Finals appearance. The others were Gene Shue from the 76ers in 1977 and Byron Scott from the Nets in 2004, according to Elias.

Not only that, Elias tells us Blatt is the first head coach since conferences began in 1970 to be fired while his team had the best record in its conference.

Only three teams in NBA history went on to win the title after making an in-season coaching change: the 1979-80 and 1981-82 Los Angeles Lakers and the 2005-06 Miami Heat.

It's important to note that the 1979-80 Lakers' circumstances were a little different: Jack McKinney coached just 14 games in his rookie campaign with the Lakers that season before suffering a near-fatal head injury in a bicycle accident. Paul Westhead was named the team's interim head coach and led the Lakers to the title.

Cavs history

Blatt went 80-43 in his 1½ seasons as Cavaliers head coach, good for a .675 winning percentage. That is the highest in Cavaliers history. He is one of only four head coaches in the history of the franchise to have a winning record.

In his first and only full season as head coach, Blatt won 14 playoff games, third-most in franchise history, and took the Cavaliers to only their second NBA Finals appearance.

Blatt's effect on players

The Cavaliers were running more of an offense this season compared with last. After leading the league with 12 isolation plays per game last season, they rank sixth in isolation plays this season with nearly three fewer per game.

The elbow is Kevin Love's sweet spot, and he's not getting the ball in that area in Cleveland. In Love's last season in Minnesota, he averaged 11.6 elbow touches per game, second most in the NBA. Since he's joined the Cavs, there's a strong correlation between the drop in elbow touches and his efficiency.

BPI Angle

Given the Cavs' trajectory, this seems like an odd time to fire the head coach. The Cavs are ranked fourth in ESPN's basketball power index and are projected to average a record of 58-24. They are huge favorites in the East, with a 92 percent chance of getting the No. 1 seed and a 47 percent chance of making the NBA Finals.