Some lessons can’t be taught.
Some have to be learned.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers were down by as many as 14 points going into the fourth quarter of a matchup against the Boston Celtics, the winded team needed a spark to take down the shorthanded Celtics and earn the season series at home.
The Cavs learned one of the most important lessons of all when forward Lamar Stevens pushed his way through the Celtics’ defense for six offensive rebounds and spoke out during the team’s huddles.
When Lamar speaks, you listen.
“That’s something you earn,” said Donovan Mitchell, via Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor. “I’ve only been here a few months, but you can tell as a locker room, as a group of guys, we trust in him, in his voice, his leadership.
“Not only did he do it by voice, but by example. When he’s out there competing, fighting, screaming, getting buckets, and also getting stops, you’ve gotta be out there doing the same thing.”
Lamar Stevens ended the night with eight points, eight boards and one assist as he more than doubled his season high for offensive rebounds.
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The Cavs’ Junkyard Dog chain winner has talked about finding the team’s defensive intensity and effort in the past, saying the team had to find “it” in a November interview following a five-game losing streak.
“His strengths are what we were missing,” Bickerstaff told cleveland.com when asked about putting Stevens in to start the fourth quarter. “Lamar (Stevens) is a dog. He is willing to scrap and fight. He’s not afraid of the moment. We needed some physical toughness to match the Celtics.
“We needed someone who would just out-work the man in front of him and someone who could inspire his teammates to do the same. There’s no way we win that game without Lamar. He set and changed the tone of the physicality and effort.”