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Mike Brown used to give Erik Spoelstra quite a bit of abuse.
The Cavaliers game against the Miami Heat on Sunday was hardly the first time the two have gone head to head. Their wars go back 15 years to the West Coast Conference when Brown was at the University of San Diego and Spoelstra, in his first season as coach of the Heat, was at the University of Portland.
"He was a thug as a player," Spoelstra said. "He used to beat me up. He was like a power point guard."
"We used to be arch-enemies," Brown said. "He's still upset that I used to win all the time."
In reality, the two are very much alike and consider themselves contemporaries. Neither played in the NBA, yet both have worked their way up from the bottom of the league. They both started off in the video room and have slowly inched up the ladder. Brown became an advance scout, then an assistant, then an associate head coach, then the top man.
Spoelstra started in Miami's video department and then created a statistical program to help the Heat analyze players and also became an advance scout and then a development coach.
Brown has been one of the most successful coaches in the league over the past four season, and Spoelstra, the youngest coach in the league, is off to a great start turning around the Heat. Nets coach Lawrence Frank is another coach who used to be a video coordinator.
Brown is returning the favor. His protege is Bryant Moore, who was the Cavs' video coordinator and is now the team's chief advance scout. There is a good chance he'll be on the Cavs' bench as an assistant in the near future as well.
Another fast-tracker in the front office is Wes Wilcox, who started out as a video coordinator then moved to advance scout and is now the team's chief pro/college scout.
"The video coordinator position has become a place for guys who want to get into coaching" Spoelstra said. "Mike was one of the first guys that broke through and was able to earn his stripes and earn a scouting job. He paved the way for guys like myself and Lawrence."
Szczerbiak's knee: Wally Szczerbiak, who will be out about a week with a right knee bruise, said he's been battling the issue for two weeks since taking a hit in Atlanta. He said the MRI scan he got Friday showed multiple bruises, which persuaded him to shut things down for awhile.
"I got hit on the tip of the bursa sac on the patella and that is not a good spot for that knee," said Szczerbiak, who suffered inflammation in that area before. "I tried to play through it, and it wasn't getting better. I need to give it a little rest and get it better."
Pranksters get Mo: Mo Williams had a surprise waiting for him when he got in his SUV after practice Saturday. His entire front seat was filled to the brim with mini-basketballs with his name and number on them that were left over from a giveaway at The Q two weeks ago. Hidden cameras caught his reaction and several Cavs were there to see him remove hundreds of them, some of which he threw at the laughing gawkers.
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