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Cavaliers fire head coach J.B. Bickerstaff

USA TODAY
                                Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J. B. Bickerstaff watches from the sideline on May 15.
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USA TODAY

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J. B. Bickerstaff watches from the sideline on May 15.

The Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach J.B. Bickerstaff today after three straight winning seasons.

The Cavaliers reached the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time in six years this season before falling to the Boston Celtics in five games in an injury-marred series.

Bickerstaff, 45, compiled a record of 170-159 since replacing John Beilein in February 2020.

After going 22-50 in his first full season, the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, the Cavaliers improved to 44-38 in 2021-22 and 51-31 in 2022-23 before finishing 48-34 this season.

“J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human being,” president of basketball operations Koby Altman said. “Over the past four years, he helped establish a culture that progressively drove players to become the best versions of themselves. Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership.”

The Cavaliers earned the East’s No. 4 seed this season and defeated the Orlando Magic in the opening round before falling to the top-seeded Celtics. All-Star Donovan Mitchell missed the last two games against the Celtics and center Jarrett Allen missed the entire series with injuries.

The victory against the Magic was the first playoff series win for the Cavaliers since LeBron James led them to four straight NBA Finals appearances from 2015-18.

Bickerstaff previously coached the Houston Rockets (37-34 in 2015-16) and Memphis Grizzlies (48-97 from 2017-19) before taking over in Cleveland.

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