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Coach addresses word misuse

DETROIT — John Bei-lein’s first season as an NBA coach took another turbulent turn because of a comment he made during a film session. Beilein said Thursday he had apologized after using the word “thugs” while reviewing film with his players the previous day. ESPN.com, citing unidentified sources, reported that Beilein suggested during a Wednesday film session his players were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.” Beilein told ESPN he had meant to say “slugs” in reference to the team’s effort level.

Beilein repeated that explanation Thursday after his team’s shootaround in Detroit, hours before the Cavaliers faced the Pistons.

“I was saying: ‘We’re making a lot of mistakes mentally, and we deserve better because we’re really playing hard right now. We’re not playing like slugs. We’re playing hard,'” Beilein said. “And somehow that word came out.”

Beilein said he called the players afterward to explain the situation, and said he apologized.

“There was really positive reinforcement from the guys this morning and last night. Very understanding, but it’s something that certainly they understand that it was serious,” Beilein said. “Something that shouldn’t have happened.”

Veteran forward Kevin Love said Thursday he didn’t think there was malice behind Beilein’s comments, and forward Larry Nance Jr. echoed that sentiment.

“He made a mistake. We all make them, but he apologized, owned up to it, and at this point, that’s all we can ask him to do,” Nance said.

“We all heard it, we were all there. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s any player on the team that believes there was mal-intent behind it.”

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