NBA Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers Need To Tighten Up On Defense, Get To The Rim More On Offense

Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers give up too many lay-ups and don’t get enough easy baskets.

The Cavs have had several problems in the early part of the season, as evidenced by their 4-14 record, but one big issue is the difficulty the team is having in stopping dribble penetration.

Too often against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night and in other games this season, opposing team point guards have blown by the Cavs guards and gotten to the rim for lay-ups or passes for dunks.

The Cavaliers are working hard on defense and have been in nearly every game, but this inability to stop penetration is killing them at times. Whether the guards need to step up and provide better defense at the top of the key, or whether the centers and forwards need to rotate over better to provide help, something needs to be done.

Cleveland simply gives up too many easy baskets, and they almost always give up dribble drives at the ends of quarters. If the Cavs are going to start winning more games, they have to get defensive stops at key times and have to stop the penetration.

On the offensive end, the Cavs are having their own problems getting to the rim. Alonzo Gee, Jeremy Pargo and Donald Sloan have all shown the ability to get to the rim and finish recently, but they are not consistent enough with this.

Against the Pistons on Monday, the Cavaliers shot a season low 33.7 percent from the field, and one reason for that was the inability to get easy buckets around the rim. The Pistons also blocked 13 shots, which was a good example of their defensive ability and a good example of the Cavs’ offensive struggles.

Rookie Dion Waiters has also shown flashes of ability to get to the rim and score, but too often he forces shots around the rim. He is still learning the game, but it is good to see his aggressiveness at times. Waiters did not play in the Monday night game due to an injury.

The best player the Cavs have at driving, of course, is star guard Kyrie Irving.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Irving has shown the ability to get to the rim and finish almost at will, and he has driven numerous times for buckets in the fourth quarters of games in his first two seasons.

This year, though, Irving has missed 8 of the Cavalierss 18 games due to injuries, and it is not known yet when he will be back.

Whether Irving is playing or not, though, if Cleveland wants to start winning soon they have to start getting to the rim and finishing on offense and they have to start stopping the penetration on defense.