Boston Celtics

Cavs coach ‘disappointed' with officiating in Game 4 loss to C's

"I thought our guys deserved much better."

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Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff was visibly upset with the officials at points during his team's Game 4 loss to the Boston Celtics. After the game, he voiced his frustrations.

Asked what kept the Cavs from staying ahead after mounting a comeback, Bickerstaff credited his team's effort while criticizing the referees.

"I'll be honest with you, I was disappointed with the way the whistle blew tonight," he said. "I thought our guys deserved much better the way that they were competing. They were attacking the paint, they were getting after it the same, as both teams were. We're not asking for anything more, but we're asking for equal and I don't think we got an equal opportunity at it tonight from that standpoint."

Bickerstaff's issues with the officiating started early. He was unhappy with the officials for calling a foul on a drive by C's star Jayson Tatum but failing to call one on a Caris LeVert layup moments earlier.

Later, Max Strus and Jaylen Brown got tangled up and Brown grabbed Strus' leg, causing him to trip. Bickerstaff and the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd didn't take kindly to the refs ruling it a common foul on Brown and not a flagrant.

The icing on the cake was the Celtics not being called for a foul for almost all the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Cavs had six fouls in the frame.

"I'm not inside those guys' head," Bickerstaff added of the officials. "But what I do know is they had zero fouls in the fourth quarter until late in the game. Our guys are driving, our guys are attacking. I have to go back and watch it, but again, it just didn't seem as if it was balanced."

Bickerstaff's frustrations are understandable. The Cavs played well enough to tie the series at two despite missing their best player Donovan Mitchell. If a few calls went their way, Game 4 could have had a much different ending.

Nonetheless, the Celtics will return to TD Garden with a chance to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals in front of their home crowd. Game 5 is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET with coverage starting at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston.

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