JB Bickerstaff Sends Message on Dejounte Murray After Cavaliers Lose to Hawks

JB Bickerstaff Cleveland Cavaliers


Head coach J.B Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks entered Tuesday’s contest trending in opposite directions. The Cavs were fresh off clinching the franchise’s first playoff appearance in five years after defeating the Houston Rockets. The Hawks, meanwhile, are just 9-8 since the All-Star Break and scuffling around the Eastern Conference play-in game.

But the Hawks came out on top of the meeting with Cleveland, winning 120-118. The Cavaliers kept the game close for much of the night, but a late and-one foul call on a shot made by Hawks guard Dejounte Murray helped seal the deal for Atlanta.

After the game, Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff called out Murray’s fall, arguing that it wasn’t even a foul at all.

“They called a foul that wasn’t a foul,” Bickerstaff said after the game, per the Cavaliers’ official YouTube channel. “That matters. The defensive player should be covered and have a spot to land just like the offensive player. When you kick your feet forward, that’s not a natural drift in a shot. That’s a huge play. Our defense was good enough. It’s tough to overcome those types of mistakes.”

Cavs at Hawks Post Game: J.B. BickerstaffCleveland Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff spoke to the media following a 120-118 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 28, 2023.2023-03-29T02:24:30Z

The game wasn’t a complete loss, however. Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell secured another NBA record on Tuesday night.

Donovan Mitchell Sounds Off on Record Night Against Hawks

Mitchell became the fastest guard in league history to reach 10,000 points, supplanting budding Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade for the honor.

Mitchell sounded honored by the recognition after the game.

“We lost,” Mitchell said, per Chris Fedor of cleveland.com. “I’m always honored to be in that category. But at the end of the day, I wish it came with a win, that’d be bigger for me. Trying to find ways to be the best player I can be. I always knew I was this good. It’s just a matter of contributing to winning basketball.”

But Mitchell also remained focused on his team, telling reporters that individual records don’t matter this time of year:

“Playoffs are coming. If I score 40 in the playoffs, and we lose, we’re going home. There are different things I could have done and we all could have done. That’s pretty much what’s on my mind right now.”

Mitchell finished with a game-high 44 points against the Hawks. Outside of Darius Garland, who poured in 27 of his own points, it was largely a quiet night for the rest of the team.

Donovan Mitchell Praises Hawks Coach Quin Snyder

Of course, it likely felt good for Mitchell to secure the honor in front of Quin Snyder, his former Jazz coach who now leads the Hawks.

After the game, Mitchell expressed gratitude for the development and mentoring Snyder afforded Mitchell in his early years in Salt Lake City.

“I owe him a lot,” Mitchell said of Snyder, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “I’m forever grateful of Quin Snyder. He’s a hell of a coach and is going to have a lot of success here in Atlanta. […] He’s a guy that literally gave me the ball and trusted in me, in a 20-year-old, 21-year-old who didn’t prove anything yet, just went out there and tried to continue to climb. When you have someone like that who trusts you, I’m forever grateful. And he really helped me get to be the player that I am today.”

If anyone knows of Mitchell’s brilliance on offense, it’s Snyder. After all, Mitchell scored 8,234 of his 10,000+ points with the Jazz.

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