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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the more surprising teams this season. While most thought they’d be fighting for a top-five pick in the draft, they have emerged as a serious play-in contender.
At 9-9, they sit at 10th in the Eastern Conference but were much further up the standings before their recent four-game losing streak. A slew of injuries has heavily contributed to that.
NBA Rumors: Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff calls out NBA referees
However, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff thinks there’s more to it than just injuries. He recently called out NBA referees for treating his team unfairly.
The head coach went on a rant after a recent loss to the star-studded Brooklyn Nets. He feels as though they were getting calls that the Cavaliers were not.
“We matched intensity, but what we have to do and have happen is match consistency,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s in our performance. That’s the referee’s performance. That’s in all aspects of the game. We saw it tonight, we saw it the other night. We have to find a way — as a staff, as players — to earn people’s respect, where it is consistent. That’s what this league is about. This league is about your reputation and you earn your reputation. Those guys have earned their reputation. What’s right is right. I thought there were some calls that were definitely missed tonight that favored (Brooklyn), and that’s wrong. Our guys deserve better than that.”
According to recent NBA rumors, sources texted Cleveland.com after the game with a list of calls that Bickerstaff and his coaching staff felt were wrongly in favor of the Nets. Among them, Darius Garland getting hit on drives, Jarrett Allen getting beat up in the paint, and a costly offensive foul call that went against Ricky Rubio in the final minutes of the fourth quarter when they were down by one. The Cavs ended up losing by five.
These complaints come in the middle of a season where multiple players have been complaining about the NBA referees as well. Stars such as Damian Lillard and Trae Young have spoken out against the way games have been called this year.
Bickerstaff was also quick to point out a couple of calls he thought went unfairly in favor of Kevin Durant. He said that there were a couple of “phantom” calls on jumpers.
Should the league take a closer look at the way games are being officiated by NBA referees? Do J.B. Bickerstaff and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a point, or will this turn into more NBA rumors?