June 16, 2024

J.B. Bickerstaff Backs Cavs, Blasts Free-Throw Discrepancy In Boston

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff came to his team’s defense on Tuesday night after falling to the Boston Celtics’ 120-113.

In what was a terrific Eastern Conference showdown at TD Garden, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff felt some type of way about his players not getting a fair whistle compared to the hometown Boston Celtics.

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When the buzzer sounded, the final tally of free-throw attempts favored the C’s, with a 26-9 advantage at the charity stripe. Bickerstaff sounded off on that particular detail.

“It’s crazy. I mean, it’s the game,” Bickerstaff said following the 120-113 loss. “It tells the story of the game. Our guys drive, penetrate. No way we only end up with nine free throws and they shoot 26. I don’t know how to explain it.

“I’ll go back, watch the tape and see the difference, but I know our guys put pressure on the paint just as well as anybody. You can’t overcome a discrepancy of 26-9. I’ll go back and take a look at it, but it’s really hard to defend the free-throw line.”

Perhaps it was Cleveland’s focus on kicking out to the three-point line that could be an explainer, as the team hoisted a season-high 45 triple tries and knocked down a season-high 19 of those.

Boston Celtics outpace Cleveland Cavaliers in high-energy shootout, 120-113  - CelticsBlog

Caris LeVert, who scored 11 points in his return to action, said it impacted the game “a lot.”

“I think when we got up early, they kinda slowed the game down when they were getting to the line,” LeVert said. “I think we can do a better job of attacking the rim, kinda going through the contact like they were doing. But it’s nights like that sometimes. The whistle is unfavorable, if you will say.”

“It definitely impacted the game,” Max Strus added. “Those are easy, free points for those guys on their team, but we need to do a better job of playing without fouling and do a better job of attacking and make ’em get those calls. So I think we can do a better job of penetrating the defense and being more physical at the rim.”

The wine-and-gold will get another shot at the Celtics on Thursday to right the ship.

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