When things aren't going well for an NBA team during the slog of an 82-game season, sometimes it takes a trip to a different sort of hardwood to fix things.
Coaches David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Monty Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans surprised their struggling teams with trips to bowling alleys recently, and both squads responded with impressive victories.
With the Cavaliers under .500 and losers in nine of their past 10 games, Blatt figured rather than practice he would take his guys to play the pins. The players realized something was up when the bus wasn't heading in the direction of UCLA, where the Cavaliers were scheduled to practice.
The bonding worked, as Cleveland picked up a pair of wins over the Lakers and Clippers.
"I think it was a surprise for most guys," Kevin Love told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "It just helped so much. We all needed a break from it all."
Perhaps taking a page out of Blatt's book, Williams figured it might be good for his guys to go bowling after a loss Friday to the dreadful Philadelphia 76ers. With a daunting matchup against the Raptors scheduled for Sunday, Williams on Saturday surprised his players with a bowling trip. And the strategy worked -- the Pelicans got back up to .500 after topping the Raptors, 95-93.
"It was really a wonderful surprise," Alexis Ajinca, who scored a career high 22 points, told Fox Sports. "We laughed and relaxed with each other. It helped us mentally re-set."
Knicks fans are hoping that coach Derek Fisher is taking notes.