J.B. Bickerstaff believes Cavaliers deserve more respect — especially from refs: ‘Our guys deserve better than that’

The Cleveland Cavaliers have preached from the beginning of the season how they are a different team.

And they’ve demonstrated it in the early portion of the season with their use and success of a big lineup. Shown in their defensive identity, how hard they compete on a nightly basis and in playing with a high level of “scrap.”

They’ve felt like they have matched the intensity of other teams around the league. They’ve played competitively and hard each night. They beat teams with playoff aspirations and hung in close games with others. They have upset wins over teams like Denver, Portland, LA Clippers and Charlotte. They started the season on a 9-5 start before this four-game skid.

Yet, while they’ve shown they can match the intensity of other teams, they have to match the consistency. It’s a key factor to success this season, but it’s where they’ve seen mixed results.

“That’s in our performance,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of the consistency. “That’s the referee’s performance. That’s in all aspects of the game. And that’s where we saw it tonight; we saw it the other night. We have to find a way, and as a staff, as players, we have to find a way to earn people’s respect, where it is consistent.”

“That’s what this league is about,” Bickerstaff continued. “This league is about your reputation, and you earn your reputation. And those guys have earned their reputation. What’s right is right. And I thought there were some calls that were definitely missed tonight that favored them, and that’s wrong. And our guys deserve better than that.”

Missed calls happen on a nightly basis.


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