Cavaliers’ J.B. Bickerstaff Made Bizarre Choice vs. Suns

J.B. Bickerstaff, Cavaliers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Cleveland Cavaliers are locked in a tight race for seeding in the NBA Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The team suffered a blowout loss at the hands of the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, going down 122-101.

Going on the road and losing to a motivated Suns team isn’t something to get too bent out of shape about. Like Cleveland, Phoenix is fighting for positioning in the Western Conference and attempting to get out of the NBA Play-In Tournament.

However, some of the decisions that Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff made in the game are coming under fire. The most head-scratching was shrinking his rotation despite some of the circumstances facing the team.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: J.B. Bickerstaff, Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Cavaliers traveled to take on the Suns after defeating the Utah Jazz the night before. Normally a coach may expand a rotation on the second night, not shrink it.

On top of that, Bickerstaff opted to play essentially a 6.5-man rotation knowing that some of his players aren’t 100 percent healthy. NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell sat out the game against the Jazz for knee injury management but ended up playing 38 minutes against the Suns in a losing battle.

It was something that Cavaliers fans were not happy about and they voiced their opinion about it on X. One user, Jack, called out Bickerstaff for going with a smaller rotation at an inopportune time.

It is anyone’s guess if expanding the rotation would have changed the Cavaliers’ fortunes on Wednesday night or not. But, they couldn’t have made things worse as the Cavaliers lost by 21 and trailed by as many as 28 points in the game.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: J.B. Bickerstaff, Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

While NBA teams don’t want to give away games at this point in the season, this was a chance for Bickerstaff to rest his regulars, not run them into the ground. A comeback was unlikely entering the fourth quarter trailing by 21, yet he had his starters in the game until there was 1:27 remaining in the game.

It was certainly a head-scratching decision and hopefully, one that doesn’t come back to bite him and the Cavaliers. They will be back at it on Saturday to start a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.

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