Now with Pistons, Dwane Casey keeps perspective about playoff clashes with LeBron James

first_img“We got a lot of work to do here,” Casey said. “I got my shirt sleeves rolled up, and my bootstraps tied up. But thank goodness he’s out of the East.”JAMES NOT TRAVELING TO UTAH WITH TEAMWhile it could have been inferred from what the Lakers have said about his injury timeline, Coach Luke Walton confirmed officially on Wednesday morning that James won’t be on the team plane to Utah on Thursday.James is expected to undergo a medical re-evaluation for his strained left groin on Friday in Los Angeles. The Lakers play the Jazz that night on the road. While it’s possible James could travel on his own pending the evaluation, it’s highly unlikely.Now absent eight games and probably due to miss a ninth, James, 34, has already missed more games than in any season since 2014-15, when he missed 13. Now in his 16th NBA season, James has played at least 74 games in every other non-lockout season of his career.Related Articles LOS ANGELES — To know the grace of Dwane Casey is to know that one of the last times he was in L.A., he was accepting the NBA Coach of the Year Award for the job he had just lost.The 61-year-old has perspective in his 10th season as an NBA head coach, and also a sense of humor. A wry smile crept across his face even as he talked about LeBron James, the player who eliminated Casey’s last three Toronto Raptors teams from the playoffs, twice via sweep.“We had a lot of success in Toronto, and one person we couldn’t get by was (in) Cleveland,” he said. “Anybody that tells me any different, they said that’s why I was let go.”But Casey wasn’t out of the game for long after being fired in Toronto last May: These days he’s coaching the Detroit Pistons, trying to mold a team that already has Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond into a playoff threat. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIf you’re looking for experience, you could do worse than Casey: His last five teams in Toronto each won at least 48 games, and his 2017-18 Raptors squad won 59 games to clinch the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.It was good. It just wasn’t good enough to beat James’ teams. But allowing that he couldn’t be the James-era Cavaliers, Casey is still proud of the work he did to change the Canadian franchise’s fortunes around.“I have no shame in that. I’m proud of what we did in Toronto,” he said. “I remember going there, the buildings were empty when we first went there. There was no Jurassic Park. We were 30th in defense, ended up Top 5 in both. I’ll take that. Now we want to come into Detroit and do the same thing.”In Casey’s estimation, the Pistons are slightly ahead of the curve from where his Toronto journey started. In Griffin and Drummond, he has established All-Stars who have some experience. He acknowledged, though, that the Pistons (who entered the game 17-21) are still figuring out their playing style, particularly with two bigs in a league that increasingly is dominated by wings.But there is a silver lining: If the Pistons get to the playoffs, James would be on the other side of the bracket. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img

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