Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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When it comes to defense, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been guilty of many breakdowns, pretty much all season.
However, when the offense is humming, the Cavaliers can often shoot their way past their problematic defense.
Sometimes, though, as was the case in a game when they shot 51 percent and scored 124 points — and still lost by 24 points — Saturday against visiting Oklahoma City, even good offense is not enough to cover up awful defense.
After being peppered for 148 points Saturday, tied for the most in franchise history, and ranking 29th of 30 teams in the NBA on that end of the floor on the season, safe to say… well, let’s allow Dean Vernon Wormer (played by the late, great John Vernon) of Animal House fame describe it (click on the link):
As would be expected, Cleveland’s defense was a hot topic of discussion between Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and reporters at practice Sunday.
“I think you start with transition defense,” Lue said. “I think you start with pick-and-roll defense. I think you start with individual, one-on-one defense. But we just got to be better, collectively, and until that starts to happen, the trust and things like that are going to happen like it did last night [against OKC].”
The Thunder, led by the quartet of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams, went through the Cavaliers like stuff through a goose Saturday. The Thunder stormed to a quick 8-0 lead from the jump and were never headed as the Cavaliers offered little, if any, resistance.
“We can’t dig ourselves a hole against a good team like that,” Lue said. “I thought we dug ourselves a hole early and then the second unit came in and got us back in the game. And then they kind of went back on a run again.”
Lue said a lack of a sense of urgency plagued his team Saturday.
“When you’re playing against good teams, you can’t ease into the game,” he said. “You can’t dig a hole like that and think you’re gonna come back and win the game.”
Lue said he and his staff didn’t single out the OKC game at practice Sunday, preferring to look at the big picture.
“No we didn’t address (the OKC game),” he said. “We talked about getting better… getting better defensively.
“Things we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks, now. And we’ve just got to continue to get better. Keep working on it and guys understand that and we just gotta keep doing it.”
Botton line, Lue said, when it comes to playing defense, it’s nose-to-the-grindstone time for the Cavaliers (27-18), who play at San Antonio on Tuesday night.
“Just keep showing it, keep drilling it, keep talking about it, keep working on it,” Lue said. “That’s all you can do.”