J.B. Bickerstaff Praises Cavs’ Unity, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love

The Cavaliers’ early-season success can be attributed to pure hustle and a desire to play the write way, coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters following Wednesday’s road win over the Clippers.Ricky Rubio

“They’re creating that identity of who they are and how we’re going to play and it’s like, they want more,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re early so I don’t want to jump the gun here, but their attitude has been like trying to quench that thirst.

“That’s the thing to me that’s been the most impressive is we’ve grown from winning a game and then coming out the next night and not knowing what to do to now, we started to translate and build on top of it. I think that’s more impressive than anything to me.”

The Cavs (3-2) have won three straight, including the first two games of their five-game road swing, starting with a victory over the Nuggets on Monday.

A big part of the success has been Bickerstaff’s ability to bring time-tested veterans Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio off the bench.

“When you have those veterans who are coming off the bench, they just bring a ton of experience and wisdom,” Bickerstaff said. “I go back with Ricky and think about where he came from, from this 13-14-year old phenom, playing against grown men. There’s nothing that’s gonna faze him. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen before.

“Kevin Love’s been to the mountaintop (winning a championship in 2016). Multiple times he’s been to the Finals, he’s been an All-Star. There’s a comfort level because there’s two guys that can organize, control and calm when needed.

“Ricky Rubio is a starting point guard in the NBA. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. Kevin Love is a starter in the NBA, probably first ballot Hall of Famer. Those two guys sacrificing and a willingness to come off the bench and only care about the team, nobody else can say anything. There is no excuse for anybody else to not be willing to do that.

“Leadership may look different for everybody. But their willingness to sacrifice and still buy in, that’s leadership.”

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