Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff wasn’t happy with the way he handled Cleveland’s 112-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Philadelphia hit 42 free throws in the game — compared to 31 for Cleveland — and Bickerstaff was particularly unhappy with the number of calls Sixers stars Joel Embiid (20 free throw attempts) and James Harden (12 attempts) received.
“We deserved to win this game. This game was taken from us,” Bickerstaff said of Cleveland.com. “We did a great job defensively and made it difficult for their two best players to get off the field. But one thing you can’t defend is the free-throw line. That’s absurd. That’s absurd. Our guys earn a lot more than what they got.” This evening.
“It was the rhythm of the night. They’re great players, right? They understand how to play through the rules and they know how to manipulate the rules. That’s not a slap or disrespect to these guys. But the game has to be consistent on both ends of the floor. There’s contact at one end, it’s a foul. Contact at the other end, it must be a foul. Tonight we were looking for that consistency and I don’t think we ever found it.”
You can see Bickerstaff’s full comments below:
With the loss, Cleveland slipped further from the top six spots in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. At this point, it looks like the Cavs will be in the play-in tournament. The loss was also Cleveland’s fifth straight loss to Philadelphia, including all four matches this season. Perhaps Bickerstaff should attribute all of these losses to the officials as well.
Seriously, it’s pretty embarrassing for an NBA coach to nail down a complete foul loss, especially when their own team has 31 free throws. Embiid was the most physically dominant player on the floor Sunday night, as he often is, and the Cavs clearly had no answer for him other than hacking and sending him to the line over and over again. If Bickerstaff had come up with a better game plan to limit the MVP nominee, his team might not have been forced to commit so many fouls.
Aside from sounding goofy, Bickerstaff is also likely to be fined by the league for criticizing officials.
https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/cavaliers-j-b-bickerstaff-calls-out-officiating-after-loss-to-76ers-we-deserved-to-win-that-game/ Cavaliers’ JB Bickerstaff shouts ‘We deserved to win this game’ after loss to 76ers