JB Bickerstaff tracks Cavs slide into ‘fat cat mentality’

Milwaukee — The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their fifth straight game Wednesday night, with a 113-98 loss to a Milwaukee Bucks team that is missing at least five starting linebackers.

The losing skid came after an eight-game winning streak for the Cavs, who started the season 8-1 and looked like an Eastern Conference contender. However, after Wednesday’s game, Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff questioned whether his team had developed a “fat cat mentality” after such a quick start and believed a win would be easy for them.

“We have a kind of fat cat mentality. We went out and won eight games in a row, everyone was giving us love and praising us, and it felt really good,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re the team that wins those eight games; we’re a really good basketball team. This is about maturity and growth from a team as a whole.”

Bickerstaff said he first began to notice a change in his team’s effort and mentality during their recent West Coast trip, which included fourth-quarter meltdowns against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors and losses to the Sacramento Kings. Despite his criticism, Bickerstaff reiterated Wednesday that he still believed in the Cavs’ roster, even as he looked for ways to get them back to playing winning basketball.

The Cavs star said: “These five matches do not emulate who we are and who we were” Donovan Mitchellwho finished Wednesday with 23 points, 16 of them in the first quarter. “Like I said before when we were winning: It’s early. There will be trials and tribulations, it will be positives and negatives, and now we’re in a negative position. Nothing to overdo. The biggest thing is we have to understand that we’re going to have it every night.”

Mitchell added, “We’ve won eight in a row. That’s great. We lost five in a row. Okay, great, let’s go back to the drawing board and get to it. We’ve done it, we’ve shown we can do it. It looks great, it looks great. We just have to get out there.” And we do. It’s a long season. It’s not something to sit around here, the sky is falling and whatever… It’s November, we’ve played a good group of teams.”

The Cavs have also played their last two games without a position Jarrett Allen, who sat with a sore left ankle. Cleveland has struggled defensively throughout its five-game losing streak, but its defensive woes have only been magnified without the all-star big middle man.

The Cavs are giving up 122 points per 100 possessions during their five-game skid, according to NBA.com, the worst defensive tackle in the league over that period.

“Basically our defense and defensive efforts, that’s what we’ve been focusing on,” the Cavs big man said Evan Mobley He said. “Defensively we sometimes miss in some areas. Just doing it. Simple as that. We know what we have to do, we’ve talked about it. We just have to go out there and do it.”

On Wednesday, the Cavs held a star Giannis Antikonmo To a relatively quiet night offensively – 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting with 12 rebounds and eight assists – but they let the Bucks beat them from the outside.

Milwaukee converted 16 of 39 (41%) 3-pointers, including seven 3-pointers Brook Lopezwho finished with 29 points, their highest since the Orlando Bubble in 2020. The Bucks scored 45 points despite missing Chris MiddletonAnd the Jrue holidayAnd the Grayson AllenAnd the Pat Connaughton And the Wesley Matthews.

“Scoring is going to be important, that’s not a real concern, it’s really just our defence,” Mitchell said. “Yeah, we lost JA, but the one thing championship teams were — that we aspire to be — is when the guys come out, everyone keeps moving forward.

“I saw that tonight. They had four or five guys out and the guys kept coming. We have a ways to go and nothing to overdo. We’ll be good, but you want to learn from the wins, obviously not the losses.”

Leave a Comment