For two straight seasons now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have posted spectacular defensive numbers. Last year, the Cavs owned the NBA‘s fifth-best defense; through three-quarters of this season, Cleveland’s defense trails only the Memphis Grizzlies for second.

Keep in mind the Cavaliers usually start a backcourt in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland that stand at 6’1. Issac Okoro, Cleveland’s usual three guard, is 6’5.

Point being, undersized backcourts like that are supposed to get picked apart. But with anchors in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen locking things down, Cleveland’s defensive ceiling is sky-high.

Just ask Caris LeVert, who put the rest of the league on notice with his bold proclamation after the Cavs trounced the Detroit Pistons Saturday.

“We pride ourselves on being the best defense in the NBA,” LeVert explained. “So especially teams like that we want to start early and don’t let up. It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing, we just want to hold our standards the whole time.

“We pride ourselves on being the best defense in the NBA.”- Caris LeVert

— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) March 5, 2023

Entering Saturday’s division showdown, the Cavaliers had held 20 opponents to fewer than 100 points. After defeating the Pistons 114-90 on Saturday, that figure stood at 21.

Cavs Not Among Title Favorites, per Windhorst

Not only is Cleveland’s defense stellar, but the Cavs’ offensive efficiency sits at No. 9 this season. In fact, Cleveland is one of three teams (the Sixers and Celtics) that rank in the top-ten in both offense and defense.

But according to ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, Cleveland still isn’t part of the East’s upper echelon of true contenders.

“They’re not as good as the Celtics The Celtics would beat them in seven-game series unless there are injuries. The Bucks would beat them. The Sixers would probably beat them, although it might get a little more interesting there,” Windhorst said. “Although, Jarrett Allen has pretty much never had a good game against Joel Embiid, even when he was with the Nets. So I don’t like their chances. They’re not as good as those three teams. That’s just the reality of it.”

The Cavs have lost four of their last six, including losses to the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. …read more



Caris LeVert Puts NBA on Notice with Bold Statement on Cavs’ Defense

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