NBA Writer Rips Cavaliers For End Of Season Effort

J.B. Bickerstaff, Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The battle for seeding in the Eastern Conference for the 2024 NBA Playoffs went down to the final day of the regular season. Several teams were fighting for a chance to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament, while others were looking to move as far up as possible.

When the dust settled, it was the New York Knicks who came away with the No. 2 seed. They were the only team in the East to win 50 games, joining the Boston Celtics. At No. 3 it was the Milwaukee Bucks, who limped to the finish line with Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a calf injury.

Coming in at No. 4 was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who inexplicably lost at home to the Charlotte Hornets in the season finale. However, when taking a look at the lineup head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was using in that game, it certainly didn’t seem like the Cavaliers were too concerned with getting a victory and moving up in the standings.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: J.B. Bickerstaff, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

With a chance to claim the No. 3 seed in the East and win the Central Division, Cleveland seemingly took a dive. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland did not suit up in the game. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen both played 25 and 23 minutes respectively. Emoni Bates played more than each of them, with Max Strus being the only starter who reached 30 minutes.

The optics of what the Cavaliers have done, trying to find the easiest first-round matchup in their opinion, has drawn the ire of some. One person who does not respect what they did is NBA writer Tim Bontempts.

Bontempts made an appearance on Brian Windhorst’s podcast, The Hoop Collective, and gave his opinion on what unfolded. He praised the Knicks, who want to prove they are a championship-caliber team, playing to the final whistle of the regular season and earning the No. 2 seed. He ripped into the Cavaliers, who act like a scared team just hoping to win a first-round series.

It certainly was bizarre some of the commentary that has been shared. Analysts were more worried about matchups in the first round than the big picture. Yes, the Knicks will have a tough matchup whether they play the Philadelphia 76ers or Miami Heat in the first round.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: J.B. Bickerstaff, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

But, more importantly than that, they are on the opposite side of the bracket from the Celtics. The No. 1 goal of every team should have been putting off a matchup with Boston for as long as possible.

Instead, the Cavaliers put themselves in a position to face the Celtics in the second round, if they are even lucky enough to get past the Orlando Magic. The Magic have a lot of similarities to the Knicks team that dominated Cleveland in the 2023 NBA Playoffs with their physicality and defensive brand of basketball.

These are the kind of things that will keep a player of Mitchell’s caliber from committing to the Cavaliers long-term. A playoff team losing on purpose isn’t something that a true NBA Title contender would be doing.

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