Donovan Mitchell Issued a Harsh Message by Cavs Coach Bickerstaff After Viral Dunk

Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With about ten minutes left in the Cleveland Cavaliers win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Donovan Mitchell made a play that transformed the entire feel of the game.

After Caris LeVert picked off a Nets pass and sent the ball upcourt to Mitchell, the Cavs All-Star vaulted over 6’8 Yuta Watanabe for one of the NBA‘s most electric posters all season.

The dunk provided the jolt that ultimately propelled the Cavs to victory over the Nets, a game that up to that point had been fairly back and forth.

And after the game, coach JB Bickerstaff admonished his team for only responding to the dunk, not taking control of the game sooner.

“We need to play a complete game,” Bickerstaff explained to reporters. “And we allowed the lead to dictate our emotions. We allowed a big play to dictate our emotions instead of doing the job and finishing the game the way we need to finish the game.”

Cavs at Nets Post Game: J.B. BickerstaffCleveland Cavalier Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff spoke to the media following a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 21, 2023.2023-03-22T02:32:03Z

Mitchell was equally critical of his response to the dunk after the game.

Donovan Mitchell Calls Out Mikal Bridges After Nets Dunk

Mitchell, too busy admiring his impressive dunk, failed to get back on defense after the play, resulting in a quick two points for Mikal Bridges and the Nets.

“Outside of me letting Mikal Bridges get downhill instead of being in help because I was still thinking about the dunk,” Mitchell told reporters in a video posted to his team’s official YouTube channel when asked how the dunk changed things for the Cavs.

Mitchell explained how he usually responds to big plays like that by playing hard-nosed defense.

“Typically it’s getting my a** back on defense,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t do that today, they got a bucket…That’s really what it is. Yeah, I dunked on them. But I gave up the points right back. Whoever was on the ball did a great job. I wasn’t in my shift spot to deter Mikal from driving to the rim to get the floater. So, at the end of the day, it’s great to have a dunk but you got to get back.”

But Mitchell was honest about how the dunk changed the Cavs’ fortunes, the exact point Bickerstaff harped on.

“[The dunk] really sparked us. I feel like it kind of gave us a bit of a boost.”

Cavs at Nets Post Game: Donovan MitchellCleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell spoke to the media following a 115-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 21, 2023.2023-03-22T03:20:53Z

Nets Big Man Nic Claxton Claps Back at Cavs Rumors

The Cavs’ victory over the Nets was the first meeting between the two after Chris Fedor of reported that Cleveland would like to see the Nets in the first round of the playoffs.

“No one inside the organization would say this publicly — and they shouldn’t. But multiple people I’ve spoken to recently are privately hoping for a Brooklyn matchup. It’s easy to understand why,” Fedor wrote recently. “Even though the Cavs, with home-court advantage, would likely be capable of competing — and possibly winning — a seven-game series against any of the teams currently behind them in the standings, the Nets would be Cleveland’s easiest path out of round one.”

Ahead of the matchup, Nets big man Nic Claxton brushed aside the report.

“I heard something like that, too. I don’t know if they think it’s sweet, but we’ll match up with anybody,” Claxton said. “We just try to take it game by game, win as many games as we can, and get as high a seed as possible. If that’s our matchup, then we’ll take care of it.”

Claxton and the Nets will have a shot at revenge Thursday night against the Cavaliers.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x