In Conclusion, The Cavaliers Are Back

In Conclusion, The Cavaliers Are Back

Drew Thirion
2 years ago
2 min read
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love celebrates making three-pointer during game vs. Lakers

Everything about the Cavs so far this season just screams legit. They have the highest team +/- in the NBA, second-best defensive rating, 7th best offensive rating, and 6th highest true shooting percentage in the league.

This team thrives off of elite defense. They’re holding opponents to a 46% field goal percentage, which is second-best in the league, and seem to go through long periods each game without giving up any scores. 

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The Cavs have become synonymous with their offensive breakthroughs, also known as “Cavalanches”. The three-point shooting gets tons of credit during these stretches, but I’m more impressed with their ability to hold their opponents to multiple-minute stretches without scoring.

Cavs Flip Script, Complete Comeback Win vs. Lakers

In last night's win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavaliers completely flipped the game with their defense. To open the second half, Cleveland went on a 13-2 run over the first four minutes of the quarter, and they never looked back. 

They outscored the Lakers by 20 in the second half, and they buried any comeback attempts by the Lakers.

The most unsung hero for the Cavs this season has been JB Bickerstaff. It felt like he was getting out-coached after halftime last season, and his late-game adjustments were always one step behind. It’s been completely different this season, and last night’s game was just one reason why.

In the first half, it felt like the Cavs were allowing a lot of penetration from players on the baseline, and were letting up a lot of uncontested threes off that penetration. In the second half, the guards were letting the Lakers run through the paint into the length of the Cavs, which allowed better rotations on the perimeter, and more contested threes. 

Donovan Mitchell Continues To Shine

Donovan Mitchell was phenomenal once again and has silenced any doubts about the flaws in his trade. He’s been shooting with unreal efficiency and has started to create a Steph Curry-like presence on offense.

 He’s punishing defenders if they don’t switch out onto him by burying off-the-dribble threes and has also been a mastermind at working against screens and scoring in the paint. 

I hate to talk about our defense again, but Mitchell has silenced any qualms you may have had with his defense. He’s always been a high IQ defender and is usually never late on his rotations, but this year he’s giving 100 times more effort while defending on the ball. 

He’s using his freakish 6’10” wingspan to get in passing lanes and contest opponents' shots. If he’s playing at this pace all year, the Cavs could very well be the number one seed. 

It might be a little too early, but if the Cavs keep up this effort, they’re going to quickly become a contender as soon as this season. Defense wins championships, and the Cavs have a championship-caliber defense through the first nine games. Watch out for these Cavs!

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