Cleveland Cavaliers Status Check:
PPG: 94.4 (26th)
Opponents PPG: 103.1 (19th)
Offensive Rating: 101.4 (29th)
Defensive Rating: 110.8 (25th)
Pace: 93.1 (14th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .470 (27th)
Turnover Percentage: .126 (2nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .766 (5th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .215 (30th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .226 (19th)
Opp. eFG%: .529 (29th)
Opp. TO%: .126 (26th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .212 (6th)
Home Record: 4-6
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
In the movie Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy Krueger was blown up, had his arm ripped off and shoved through his chest, and then got his head lopped off with a machete. And even that doesn’t quite compare to the savage beatings being put on the Cavaliers these days. Check out their last five games:
Lost 106-87 to the Boston Celtics
Lost 118-90 to the Miami Heat
Lost 129-95 to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Lost 102-92 to the Detroit Pistons
Lost 117-97 to the Philadelphia 76ers
Five double-digit losses — the last three on the road against sub-.500 powder puffs — by a combined total of 111 points. Man, it’s like LeBron tore out what was left of the Cavs’ hearts, jammed them into a Magic Bullet and hit the “liquefy with extreme prejudice…while laughing” button.
By contrast, the Bulls have looked pretty solid in winning two in a row. And yet…I smell a trap.
After the Cavs lost in Philly last night, concluding a rather disastrous little road swing, Cleveland coach Byron Scott said: “I’m very disappointed with this whole road trip. I don’t know where the sense of urgency is right now, especially on the defensive end. Guys have to take more pride and ownership in the fact that they have to guard their man. We’re getting beat off the dribble like we’re not even there. Pride has to come into it. Guys go right down the lane for easy layups and nobody seems upset by it. Everybody has to do a lot of soul-searching.”
Those are some strong words. Even though the Cavaliers are playing on the second night of back-to-backs, they’re going to be at home and their coach just called them out to the press. If the players are ticked off and feel the need to defend their pride, the Bulls could be in for a dogfight.
Still, I look at their top five scorers — Mo Williams (14.7), Boobie Gibson (13.3), Antawn Jamison (12.4), J.J. Hickson (11.6) and Ramon Sessions (10.7) — and all I can think is: The Bulls can shut these down. I mean, Cleveland is scoring only 94.4 PPG on 43 percent shooting. Chicago is ranked 9th in Defensive Rating. Two plus two and all that.
Plus, as Scott pointed out, the Cavs aren’t exactly putting up any defensive resistance. Their opponents are shooting nearly 48 percent from the field (the league average for opponents field goal percentage is 45.6) and better than 41 percent from downtown (the league average is 36.1 percent). That three-point defense is the second-worst in the league. To the Clippers.
And Cleveland is getting killed by mid-range shooters. According to Hoopdata, they are the worst team in the league at defending shots from 10-15 feet, letting their foes hit 49.6 percent of their shots from that range. The next-worst team, the Magic, only let their opponents hit 43.1 percent of their 10-15 foot jumpers.
Sounds like a job for Derrick Rose and Luol Deng!