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Defense Issues Keeping Cleveland Cavs at Bay

By Brian Ang
on Mar 28, 2017 10:01 AM EDT
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bring their swagger back if the team intends to make it back-to

Superstar LeBron James and Company are supposed to be cruising towards the off-season. Instead, they are scrambling to protect their number one seeding in the Eastern Conference. Based on the way the ball club has been playing as of late, the Cavaliers are in danger of getting dethroned as NBA champions.

Following successive losses to the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets recently, the Cleveland Cavs are 23rd in terms of defensive efficiency in the league. That means that the team is giving up 108.1 points per 100 possessions. The ranking has put the organization close to the cellar with the lowly New York Knicks whose 108.8-defensive grade is 25th in the NBA.

Apparently, the glaring hole in the middle is the primary concern. According to head coach Tyrone Lue, Tristan Thompson needs to play extensively at center. Without another big man upfront, it will definitely be a tall order for the Cavs. However, LeBron James thinks that his group needs to toughen up.

Cleveland's performance on the floor has put a lot of fans and supporters on the edge. The sloppy plays are just too much to bear. Missing out on designated assignments has led to miscues.

The Cavaliers are dead last in the league when it comes to transition defense. They are also 28th when covering pick-and-rolls. What is more troubling is the fact that four efficient scorers on the roster, namely, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love and Channing Frye have trouble guarding opponents One-on-One.

Although Cleveland is third in the NBA when it comes to defending isolations, the bad news is the approach comes through only against players who deviate from team plays. Within this context, it is clear that the organization has to contend on James and Iman Shumpert to man the perimeter effectively.  

Love has summed his team's needs almost perfectly. Consistency in help defense will limit the other team's extra possessions and offensive rebounds. Rotation, therefore, is a must.

Still, the Cavs need to slug it out. The group has gone over the hump last year as Cleveland eventually snared the city's first ever crown. 2017 will be no different for LeBron James and the rest of the team if they intend to make it back-to-back.

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