Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff revealed the Cavs’ mentality heading into Game 5 of their NBA Playoff matchup against the New York Knicks during Tuesday’s practice.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet,” Bickerstaff said, via Right Down Euclid Editor-in-Chief Evan Dammarell. “But, tomorrow we’ve got an opportunity to.
“I expect our guys to rise to the occasion.”
The Cavs will enter Game 5 with a 3-1 deficit following two losses at Madison Square Garden, making Game 5 the potential final game of a memorable 2022-23 season. A win against the Knicks on Wednesday would mean the chance to travel back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 and the opportunity for Cleveland to earn its first win at the Garden this season. Cleveland took a 119-101 victory over the Knicks in New York on April 2, 2022, a game where Cavs guard Darius Garland scored 24 points and dished 13 assists in just over 36 minutes.
The Cavs lost the battle on the boards to New York on Sunday, finishing with a 14-board deficit and ten fewer offensive rebounds than the Knicks. New York managed to swat away seven shots, while the Cavs blocked five.
“I feel like we just didn’t really play with the grit we needed to play with and the urgency we needed to play with all the way through down the stretch,” Cavs forward Evan Mobley said, via Bally Sports Ohio. “I feel like we turned the ball over early, and that got them going.”
“We just have to protect the ball a little more and make better plays.”
Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell, who scored 11 points in Game 4 following a 22-point performance the game before, revealed his mentality during Tuesday’s practice.
“It’s an elimination game so we have to leave it all on the line tomorrow,” said Mitchell, via Dammarell. “Tomorrow isn’t promised so we have to do whatever it takes.”