The Cavaliers dropped to three games behind the Bulls for the Eastern Conference’s 10th seed after their 106-96 loss in Chicago. Cleveland had a chance to win the season series over their Central Division foe, something that would have given them the tiebreaker should that become a factor in making the play-in tournament.
Instead, the Bulls widen the gap between the two clubs, and veteran Kevin Love says he wants the younger Cavaliers to feel the loss.
“We knew what was in front of us,” Love told reporters. “I wouldn’t say we laid an egg, but I would say we didn’t come out and show what we were capable of across the board. This one definitely hurts.
“I want it to hurt like it [explicit] hurts me right now. I want it to be painful for them because a lost opportunity like that, it should hurt. You want it to be learning experiences, and sometimes those learning experiences can pull on your heart and be very painful. It’s a major factor for growth. But it’s a bright, bright future for those dudes, and especially those young guys we have on the team to help grow.”
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff reiterated that playing meaningful basketball and striving for the play-in tournament is good for the growth of the team.
“I think it’s extremely important for our guys and we talk to them about it,” Bickerstaff said. “We’ve got young guys who haven’t experienced playing meaningful games at the end of the season. That’s huge for our growth. It’ll be good to see how we respond to it.”