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The Rookie of the Year award has had some illustrious winners
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NBA - US Sports: Bickerstaff backs 'determined' Cavs

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff says his Cavaliers are a "bunch of fighters" ahead of Friday's showdown with Atlanta Hawks for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers are 23/20 to win in the Money Line and Atlanta can be backed at 20/27.

Cleveland lose form at wrong time

Cleveland finished in eighth spot at the end of the regular season with a 44-38 overall record and missed out on claiming the seventh seed for the play-offs after a 115-108 defeat at Brooklyn Nets in their first play-in game.

The Cavs came close to finishing in the top six, but they slumped towards the end of the campaign, losing eight of their final 10 games.

The Hawks reached the Eastern Conference finals last season and arguably underachieved this year as they came in ninth with a 43-39 record.

However, Atlanta ended the season strongly with seven wins in their final nine games and they comfortably overcame Charlotte Hornets 132-103 in the 9-10 play-in game to set up another elimination clash in Cleveland.

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The Hawks are the team with the momentum, but Bickerstaff is convinced his players can secure a post-season spot with a win ahead of Friday's clash.

"Our guys are a bunch of fighters, they've scrapped their way through this whole entire season," Bickerstaff said after practice on Thursday, via Cleveland.com.

Cavs keen to keep season going

"They don't want it to end. Collectively they're doing all the things we need to do to put ourselves in position to be successful. Our guys are determined. They want our season to continue.

"They're willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. They don't want to let each other down. They're all in, all together, ready to go after it."

The winner of the game will take on top seeds Miami Heat in the first round of the play-offs.

In the Western Conference, Los Angeles Clippers host New Orleans Pelicans on Friday and the winner of that game will secure the eighth seed to set up a first-round series against Phoenix Suns.

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