In fall, the Cavaliers lost their defensive identity
Past the drunkenness of All-Star Weekend in their lair, the Cavs are struggling to get out of their hangover. Wednesday night against Charlotte, and despite the return to business of Darius Garland (33 points), Cleveland again bit the dust, for a fifth defeat in six games.
JB Bickerstaff freaks out and apologizes
Manhandled by Terry Rozier (29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) while LaMelo Ball dragged foul problems throughout the game, the Cavs scored up to 24 points in disbursements in the third quarter, when JB Bickerstaff lost his nerves with Natalie Sago, one of the three referees. Result: two technical faults, synonymous with exclusion from the match to cause an electric shock to his players.
“I lost my temper”acknowledged the coach on Cleveland.com. “I apologized to the guys, I apologized to the staff. I apologize for the children. No one should see this. It’s my fault and I have to behave better. It’s a combination of various frustrations obviously, but I have to stay in the fight. I have to do better. »
With 64 points in the first half, including 38 in the first quarter alone, the Cavs lost their defensive advantage embodied by their « Very Tall Ball » at the start of the season. The intimidation factor was not there and Cleveland suffered throughout the game, weighed down by a far too timid start to the game.
“First, we have to start with more physical impact. Second, we make a lot of disciplinary errors. We are not in the right positions. And thirdly, we no longer make the extra effort that we did before and which allowed us to arrive in this position”, hammers JB Bickerstaff. “That’s our basic principle. These are the things we did to protect each other. We have to do it together. We have to play harder. This is what we must return to. We have to prepare and solve this problem. »
Moving from rhetoric to concrete results
If there was better in the second half, thanks to the contribution of Darius Garland in particular and with an address found from afar (8/16 against 2/13 in the first half), Cleveland started from too far . Ohio’s suddenly light cavalry can no longer surprise its opponents…
Everyone agrees on the solution, but the hardest part is still to be done: implementing the plan. Go from theory to facts. Because, for Cleveland, which was not so far from taking the lead in the Eastern Conference not so long ago, the fall is heavy in the standings. The Cavs are now 5th, very close to having to fight to avoid the « play-in » with the Celtics threatening to pass them too…
« We don’t play the same way as at the start of the season », sorry Darius Garland. “We have to come back to it. We play too softly. We let go of 38-point quarters, and it happened twice this week, it’s unacceptable. We are not ourselves right now. »