Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff almost looked nervous when he spoke to media members shortly after a 114-100 Cavs win over the Los Angeles Lakers, highlighting the team’s lack of defensive physicality and inconsistent shooting rhythms following the team’s eighth-straight victory on what looked to be the path towards many more.
When it took JB Bickerstaff longer than usual to step out of the locker room and address the media shortly after a 113-98 Wednesday win by the Milwaukee Bucks, it seemed not even a poster dunk from Cavs forward Evan Mobley over Giannis Antetokounmpo could bring back the energy he once possessed during a postgame conference in Detroit after some of his fears were realized during a five-game losing streak.
“We’re not playing winning basketball right now,” JB Bickerstaff said. “It’s that simple.
“We have a formula in place that will allow us to be successful. Holding each other to that is what we have to do. It’s my responsibility to search and find the guys that are most willing to play the way we want to play.”
The team had taken on a “fat cat” mentality after almost sitting atop the Eastern Conference, Bickerstaff added, saying the love and praise the team had gotten over the streak made them comfortable enough to almost take their foot off the gas.
As JB Bickerstaff learned from his dad, decades-long NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, even the best will always find a way to be humbled by the highest league in basketball.
“One thing (Bernie Bickerstaff) told me a long time ago is ‘the NBA will humble you,'” JB Bickerstaff said. “As soon as you get too big for your britches, no matter who you are, the NBA has a way of humbling you.
“Hopefully, this has been enough. We’ll make the decision to do what’s right for each other.”
The Cavs will hope to snap their losing streak against a four-win Charlotte Hornets team at 7:30 p.m. EST this Friday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Ohio.