Cavs produced most complete offensive performance this season, but not enough on defense…
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Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt has criticised his team’s defensive display against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night despite the win.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined for 86 points in the 118-111 win on Monday night, but Blatt was keen to stress that they must also develop a habit of winning ugly and that will not come if they are so porous on the defensive end.
Ryan Anderson finished with 32 points for the Pelicans, but it took until the third quarter for the Cavs to address his threat with Shawn Marion drawing the task of defending him.
Both James and Irving conceded that there is undoubtedly room for improvement but the latter insisted that the most important thing at this stage of the season is picking up wins and the rest will follow as the chemistry improves within the team.
However, Blatt was a little less relaxed and insisted that he wants to see more intensity and effort on the defensive end moving forward.
“I can honestly tell you I’m a little disappointed in the moments of lethargy that we have on defense,” Blatt said after his team allowed the most points out of any game it has played in its 3-3 start.
“And our guys need to understand that if we want to consistently beat great and good teams and very good teams like the one we saw tonight, we cannot afford to sleep for parts of the game or parts of the quarter.”
Blatt insisted that it was “disturbing” and “worrisome” that the team was so lethargic on the defensive end at times, and it is certainly a point that was raised by experts prior to the season started when the Cavs assembled their team which is considered the favourite for the championship.
While there are no doubts regarding their offensive talent and execution, it is apparent that the Cavs can be scored on and unless they take steps to improve in that area during the regular season, it could become a real issue in the playoffs when the competition and intensity heats up.