by Jack Maloney
Saturday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ problems on the defensive end continued, as the Washington Wizards poured in 71 points in the first half before holding off the Cavs in the second half for a 127-115 win. The loss dropped Cleveland to just 6-8 in March --the same record as the Brooklyn Nets -- and lowered their lead over the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the East to just half a game.
As has been noted time and again, the Cavs’ defense, which has not been great all season long, has been abysmal in March. Their defensive rating now sits at 115, better than only the Lakers’ (who are trying to lose games) mark of 115.7. But, there is some good news for Cleveland. Maybe.
Head coach Tyronn Lue says that he has a secret plan to fix their defensive problems, but he can’t show it yet because he doesn’t want teams to get a glimpse of it before the playoffs. Via Cleveland.com:
“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because ... these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”
“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. ... Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”
The only thing is, he’s not exactly sure it will work.
“I’m not confident, but we got to (fix the defense),” Lue said. “We have to.”
Certainly some problems on the defensive end can be fixed come the postseason simply because it’s the playoffs and guys lock in a bit more and give more effort, but Lue seems to be hinting at some sort of schematic wrinkle. Lue immediately acknowledging that he’s not that confident, however, is not exactly super reassuring.
Remember the episode of “The Office,” where Michael Scott keeps telling everyone that he has a super special surprise for them, and he keeps hyping it up, and desperately tries to conjure up something awesome for his staff, but in the end he just gives them some ice cream sandwiches?
Yeah, this quote from Coach Lue sounds a lot like that.