Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in the pregame that he wanted his team to make Saturday’s game against Milwaukee as ugly as possible, and they did that, but it was not ugly enough as the Cavaliers(5-5) would end their six-game road trip by losing to the Bucks(6-4) 100-90.
Without Giannis Antetokoumpo(back spasms), the Bucks’ Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with a game-high 27 points. For the Cavs, Andre Drummond had a monster game with 26 points and 24 rebounds, and Damyean Dotson added 21 points.
Cleveland was down seven players again, including their top two scorers, Collin Sexton(ankle) and Darius Garland(shoulder). Even in a loss, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was proud of his team’s performance.
“They gave us what they had tonight,” Bickerstaff said after the game. “Asking guys to play heavy minutes, carry heavy burdens, and they scrapped, and they competed. We just couldn’t manufacture enough points. Again, I thought our defense was solid. We just struggled to manufacture some points and find some easy buckets tonight…
“I can’t say enough about what these guys are doing. They’re many men down, and they haven’t used it as an excuse. They just continue to go out and scrap. They continued to go out and fight, came up short tonight, but I’m proud of their effort and the way they fought.”
Cleveland ended their six-game road trip at 2-4, which is not a bad road trip when you consider all the injuries. As they prepare to head back to Cleveland on Monday to battle the Grizzles, Bickerstaff is happy with his team after ten games.
“I feel really good about this team, to be honest with you,” he said. “The things that we say matter most to us, our guys have continued to show. They are competitive; they are selfless, they are together… We continue to play this way; we get healthy; we’re going to be a hard out every night.”
Hopefully, this team can get healthy. To Bickerstaff’s credit, this team does play hard every night, and Bickerstaff is right; if they continue to play hard and get healthy, Cleveland will be a hard out every night for any team in the NBA.