The Cleveland Cavaliers have hit a rough patch, five losses in six games and now they are heading on the road to the West Coast. The Cavs are no longer leading the league in defense; the title is now occupied by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The worst part about the Cavaliers’ lack in defense is the offensive was never that great.
Forward Larry Nance Jr. says, “the best part of our offensive is our defense.”
The switch is reasonable. Although Kevin Love is just now practicing with the team again, he has been out with a calf injury. Andre Drummond is new to the Cavaliers. Larry Nance Jr. suffered a wrist injury in Boston that led him to be absent for a few games and now he will be out for six weeks with left metacarpal injury. Collin Sexton just returned two weeks ago after being injured. Moreover, forward Taurean Prince and center Jarrett Allen from the Brooklyn Nets are learning and acclimating to their positions for the Cavs.
After a recent loss to the New York Knicks, Coach J.B. Bickerstaff attributes pointed to a lack of passing as the primary culprit. However, it was clear after the Milwaukee Bucks’ victory over the Cavs, three-point shooting is imperative. The lack of three-point shooting may cost the Cavs in the long run. The NBA is a three-point league now. The Cavs are 29th in three point frequency.
Jarrett Allen is leading the Cavs for three-point shooting, 50% from the field. Isaac Okoro tends to not take open threes as much as he possibly can. Sexton was vocal in that he would prefer Okoro take open threes no matter the outcome rather than second guess himself.
In both games versus the Bucks, the Cavs seemed to stop playing with high energy after the fourth quarter. After the first Bucks matchup, Sexton even stated that his goal was to be consistent in the entirety of the game due to difficulty once at a large deficit.
“It would be hard to fight back once we’re down,” explained Sexton prior to the Los Angeles Clippers matchup.
After the Clippers’ victory Sexton stated, “We have to take open ones (three pointers) every time we have an opportunity to. I think we shot four for ten. That’s not enough to win any ball game.”
The Cavs are about to start a round trip to the West Coast to battle with championship contenders: Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and the Denver Nuggets. Kevin Love may be the answer to this problem, averaging .370 three-point shooting, but it has yet been revealed when Love will officially be back.
Coach Bickerstaff believes watching film would be advantageous for this growing team and “continuing to play to their identity” as Coach Bickerstaff says.
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