Mike Brown remembered the game, just as any father would.
Prior to last Friday's Jazz-Cavaliers game at EnergySolutions Arena, Brown stood outside the Cleveland locker room and met with members of the media for a little more than five minutes. When someone brought up the subject of Jazz rookie Trey Burke, Cleveland's veteran coach had some insightful things to say.
"He's got to go through his ups and downs and he's doing it right now," Brown said of Burke, an Ohio native who took his talents north, to the University of Michigan.
"He's played phenomenal at times and at times he's played like a rookie, and he should," Brown added. "I kind of know him from afar. My son played against him in high school. He's got a great competitive spirit and when you have guys that have great competitive spirits, like Trey Burke, he's going to have a chance to be a great player."
Three years ago, when Brown was taking a hiatus from coaching, he spent time working with his son, Elijah, who was a sophomore at Lakewood St. Edward High School outside of Cleveland. As he spoke of Burke, Mike Brown's mind quickly went to a game involving his son's St. Edward team and Burke's Columbus Northland High School.
St. Edward won that day, 84-81.
Perhaps its a testament to a coach's mind and ability to recall even the smallest details of games played years earlier. After all, these guys see thousands of games, whether live or recorded, and yet always seem to have in their minds all sorts of information, pertinent and otherwise.
Players, referees, offenses, defenses, time, score ... you name it, they remember it.
Mike Brown is no different, I'm sure of it. And yet in this instance he spoke as a father -- a proud father -- and not a man whose livelihood revolves around picks, rolls, cuts, slashes, curls and passes into the low post.
In that moment he was Mike Brown, dad, not Mike Brown, coach. And perhaps that explains the slight discrepancy in the total number of points Burke scored.
"Was that the game Trey scored 35," someone from Cleveland asked.
"I do remember that game," Brown said. "I thought it was 33. I was feeling a little bit better. Thirty-five? I do remember we won. I think so ... I hope so."
Amid laughter, Brown added: "He could have gotten 45 for all I care, as long as we came out with the W."
As reporters do, we chased the story from there. We headed to the Jazz locker room and found Burke himself, sitting in front of his locker.
"My senior year in high school, we played them up at St. Edward's," he said as if reaching for something very near by. "They ended up beating us. I think that was our only loss besides the state championship that year."
A bad memory, no doubt.
"Yeah, it does (bring back bad memories), obviously," he said. "But it was a really good game, actually, It was up in Cleveland and I remember seeing (Mike Brown) in the stands. It was a game that I remember to this day."
"Coach Brown said he remembered you had a good game," someone said, fishing for another quote.
"Yeah, yeah I can't remember how many points I had or how many assists, but I think I had a pretty good game," Burke said, modestly. "We still ended up losing so it didn't really matter."
Two things strike me about this story. First, Brown may have recalled the game with a father's memory but he couldn't separate himself from the coach's perspective. Ultimately it didn't matter who scored what; all that counted as the final result.
Secondly, it was easy to see Burke's competitive spirit is never far below his calm demeanor.
Honestly? I have no doubt he remembers exactly how many points he scored. But more importantly, I'm positive those points - 33, 35, 45 ... whatever -- don't mean a thing. Not without the win.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo