Coach Bickerstaff Bemoans Donovan Mitchell’s Lack of Cavs Help Versus Heat

JB Bickerstaff Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Head Coach JB Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fourth-quarter struggles once again plagued the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, with the away team blowing a late lead against the Miami Heat.

Donovan Mitchell was excellent in the game, pouring in 42 points in 43 minutes of action. He was forced to step up in Darius Garland‘s absence, who missed the game with an injury. The rest of the Cavs, though, failed to show up.

Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro each added 16 points, but Jarrett Allen was quiet, scoring just six points in 34 minutes.

After the game, JB Bickerstaff praised Mitchell’s efforts to keep Cleveland in the game, while pointing out that the former Jazz star put the team on his shoulders.

“He was carrying us, there is no doubt about it,” Bickerstaff said, per Chris Fedor of “He understood with Darius being out and us missing that key part that he was going to have to do a little bit more. I thought he did a great job of doing that. It wasn’t easy. That’s a really good defensive team that was keen to try and stop him.”

It was the Cavs’ second game against the Heat in three days. With the loss, the Cavs snapped a strong stretch of play, including wins in three straight and four of their last five.

Mitchell: Tough to Beat Heat Twice in Same Week

Mitchell provided his own analysis of Cleveland’s tough ending against the Heat on Friday.

“It’s tough to beat this team at home twice in the same week, but that’s what the playoffs are going to be,” Mitchell said. “If this were a playoff series, we stole one at home. That’s kind of the mindset, you know, we stole one at home and that’s kind of what we are training ourselves to think and understand.”

While nice to “steal” a game at home, the reality is that any potential playoff series that features both Miami and Cleveland will see the Cavs with home-court advantage.

Also concerning: the Cavs are now 2-2 against the Heat, a team that, as Mitchell noted, is primed for “playoff” basketball.

But if anyone knows what playoff basketball is all about on this Cavs team, it’s Mitchell. The rest of the starters’ playoff experience varies between zilch and slightly more than zilch.

Danny Green Forecasting Cavs’ Playoff Journey

Outside of the starters, recent addition Danny Green is also using his experience to ready the young starters.

Green famously won three rings over the course of his career, including two with the Spurs and one in Toronto.

Several weeks ago, Green foreshadowed what a playoff atmosphere is like.

“Hostile environments. Every play, every possession is going to be intense,” Green explained.

“You’ve got to embrace it, lose yourself in the moment, lose yourself in the game,” Green explained. “At the same time, be on your P’s and Q’s, execute the best you can and doing your job. Not letting yourself down, your teammates down. We’re going to expect the most out of each other. Just making sure that everybody can embrace the moment and be ready for a hostile environment.”

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