Cavs coach Bickerstaff fined $15,000 by NBA for ripping refs

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff was fined $15,000 by the NBA for criticizing the officials following Sunday night’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Upset by inconsistency in calls and the Sixers getting 42 free throws, Bickerstaff said the game “was taken” from the Cavs, who are trying to hold onto the No. 7 play-in spot with a week left in the regular season.

Bickerstaff also was upset that a foul wasn’t called on Sixers star Joel Embiid in the closing seconds of Philadelphia’s 112-108 win. Cavs guard Darius Garland was bumped on a layup with the Cavs down by a point.

On the two-minute report released Monday, the league agreed with Bickerstaff and said Embiid should have been called for a foul.

However, Bickerstaff was most bothered by the free-throw discrepancy as the Sixers attempted 42 free throws to 31 for the Cavs. Embiid went to the line 21 times, and All-Star forward James Harden attempted 12.

“We deserved to win that game. That game was taken from us. We deserved to win it,” Bickerstaff said Sunday. “We did a great job defensively, of making their two best players have a difficult time from the field.

“But one thing you can’t defend is the free-throw line. And that’s absurd. That’s absurd. Our guys deserve way better than what they got tonight.”

The Cavs are at Orlando on Tuesday night.

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