The controversy over Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein’s sideline argument with center Tristan Thompson on Thursday night has been cleared up, with Thompson’s anger actually directed at the shot selection of teammate Collin Sexton.
— Chase Shannon (@chase_shannon) December 13, 2019
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com noted that the brief incident took place during the latter part of the third quarter of the Cavaliers’ overtime win in San Antonio. Thompson had just delivered a dunk to give the Cavs a nine-point lead, but was actually livid with Sexton having taken a quick 3-point shot on a previous possession.
“According to multiple people that were in close proximity to the fiery interaction, Thompson was actually yelling about Collin Sexton’s shot selection,” Fedor wrote. “It had nothing to do with Beilein specifically.”
Matthew Dellavedova had made a futile attempt to prevent the outburst, with fans watching the game only seeing Thompson and Beilein offering heated responses to each other. The controversy simmered in part because Thompson didn’t take the court again, finishing with two points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
Beilein later indicated that the outburst was only part of the reason for keeping Thompson on the bench. Despite the conflict, Thompson had no hard feelings about the situation.
“There was a lot going on in the game and I think I was just frustrated and voicing my frustration,” Thompson said. “Obviously, camera and media is going to make it bigger than it actually is. Me and coach talked about it and we’re good. He understands my passion for the game. I understand his passion for the game. It’s just family members getting into a quick discussion. It happens like anything. We’ve moved on.”
The argument caught many by surprise, considering that Thompson and Beilein have offered praise for each other for the past few months. Thompson’s tenure with the Cavs could be coming to an end in the next few months, though that’s connected to his pending free agency and not his relationship with the head coach.