Cleveland Cavaliers Focus Needs to be on Defense

By jeffreyhess
David Richard-US Presswire

Hey, did you hear? The Cavs won three straight. From January 22nd to February 8th, the Cleveland Cavaliers
were 6-2. But after losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and their second straight game, it is time for
a season reset. If the Lakers can do it every other game, why can’t the Cavaliers? So for all intents and
purposes, it is a brand new season for the Cavaliers starting today.

So in this hypothetical new season, what do the Cavs do to start 1-0? It all comes down to defense.
In last night’s game, the Cavaliers allowed the Timberwolves to shoot 57% from the field. The
Timberwolves are a team that shoots a 46% average this season. But without Kevin Love, without Andrei
Kirilenko, without sharpshooter Chase Budinger, the Timberwolves are still able to shoot 57%. Why you
ask? Well Luke Ridnour had 21 (averages 12), Mickael Gelabale had 11 (averages 7), and there were six
Timberwolves in double figures. This is coming from a team that averages 95.2 points per game (20 th in
the league) and is 22nd in the league in offensive rating.

But defense has been a struggle for this young Cavs team since day one. Oh, and day one of the regular
NBA season, not where we can begin a new season every other day. The Cavs allow 101.4 points per
game, earning them the lowly 26th spot in the league. Naturally, the Cavs are 28th in the league in
defensive rating. As I said, the Cavaliers are a young team. The Cavs give more minutes to first and
second year players than any other team in the league. So there will be some learning curves.

In order to start this new season on a high note, the Cavs go against the crafty San Antonio Spurs. The
Spurs lead the league in assists and excel at moving the ball to get open shots. Well that is exactly what
the Cavs have trouble defending. The Spurs have shown the resolve of a veteran team, still blowing
out the Chicago Bulls even without Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan. The Bulls are 3 rd in the
league in opponent’s points per game and 6th in the league in defensive rating. Needless to say, this
game does not bode well for the Cavaliers.

In order to start this fresh, hypothetical season with a win, the Cavaliers must focus on defense. That means
defending the perimeter, forcing players inside, and cutting off passing lanes. If the Cavs can cause some
turnovers and get some easy fast-break points, they may have a shot. If not, the Cavaliers will be forced to begin a
new season after Wednesday and go for that first win again.

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