Despite their success this season, Cleveland reportedly almost fired their head coach.
Despite the success they’ve seen over the last six weeks, Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff was reportedly on the hot seat earlier this season, according to NBA insider Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst spoke about the Cavaliers’ coaching situation on the latest edition of the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast:
“Guys, he almost got fired. Say what you want, they can debate about it, and you could debate the word almost, and they can deny it or whatever. J.B Bickerstaff was on a hot bleep seat and if he had had a bad few days at the wrong time, he would have probably gotten fired. To rebound from that situation, to have this team playing brilliant basketball, just watch them.”
While the biggest revelation coming out of Cleveland’s locker room lately is a faster, three-point-heavy offense dominating teams and running up scoreboards, the defensive presence has been impressive. It was always something the Cavs had leaned on in the past, and this season, things just took a while to manifest on the court.
Overall, the Cavaliers rank second in defensive rating and keep pulling closer to Minnesota, which has occupied the top spot essentially all season. But since the start of January, no one has been more stifling defensively than Cleveland, allowing just 105.1 points per 100 possessions and opponents to connect on 43.7% of their attempts from the field.
“It’s a focus and commitment to one another and to the success we have had,” Bickerstaff shared. “Everybody knows when we defend, we’re very hard to beat. That’s how we get leads. Then, the defense transitions into a thrust offensively. It makes people feel like they are chasing us all night, and they feel suffocated because they can’t catch their breath.”
The Cavaliers take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.