Found November 07, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have played 4 games this season, and sit at 2-2. In 3 of the 4 games, the Cavaliers were able to feel good about the way they played. Only in the Chicago game last week could their effort and desire really be challenged. This is a good sign for the early season. Tonight, as they continue their road trip by playing against the Golden State Warriors (2-2), the Cavaliers will try to keep the momentum going. One of the biggest positive for the Cavaliers is that 3 of their 4 opponents have been very good defensive teams this season. In terms of defensive efficiency, the Bulls are 1st, the Bucks are 3rd, and the Wizards are 12th. Only the Clippers (19th) fall in the bottom half of the league. The Warriors will present another tough defensive challenge, as Golden State comes into this game ranked 14th in defensive efficiency. In past years, the Warriors have been the poster child of fast paced basketball with a premium on offense more so than defense. The Warriors have been evolving into a more defensive oriented team, and this year their defense has been outperforming their offense so far. In many ways, the Warriors and Cavaliers are very similar teams. They both feature dynamic young backcourts that both franchises are banking on to be the core of their team going forward. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson represent in Golden State what Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters represent in Cleveland. While David Lee and Anderson Varejao are different offensive and defensively from one another, they are both quality rebounders at the PF/C position. When you look at the offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and pace factor numbers for these two teams, they’re all fairly close, with Golden State being a slightly better offensive team. The Cavaliers have the edge in pace factor. Both teams have their issues on defense. The Cavaliers, predictably, have had their defensive struggles. They are 20th in efficiency and 29th in opponents eFG%. They are giving up the 10th most points per game. However, there are 3 areas where the Cavaliers are saving themselves. Those areas are interior defense, turnovers, and defensive rebounding. The Cavaliers are 12th in opponents points in the paint per game, 5th in defensive turnover rate, and 6th in defensive rebounding rate. Heck, they’re even decent at defensive FT rate (opponent FTs per FGA), where they rank 16th in the league. So the Cavaliers are about average or well above average in 3 of the Defensive Four Factors. So why is the Cavs’ defense so bad? That atrocious opponents eFG% is the culprit. For all the good things the Cavaliers are doing in these other areas, they are simply allowing their opponents to get too many good looks and wide open, uncontested shots from mid range out to the 3 pt line. The Cavaliers’ young backcourt is probably most to blame. Kyrie Irving is still getting beat too often at the point of attack, forcing the defense to compensate. With some good ball movement, this allows opponents to usually find the wide open player for a good shot. Secondly, Dion Waiters is still floating too much defensively when the guy he is guarding is off the ball. Opposing wings have had entirely too many wide open 3s because Waiters has been sagging into the paint to cheat on help defense. The good news is, this is an issue that can and probably will be fixed in time. It’s important to remember this is still Waiters’ first taste of playing man defense after his two years in the heralded Syracuse zone system. Against the Warriors, though, the Cavaliers’ backcourt defense must step up. It’s nice that Gee can help out defending opposing PGs, and that does make a big difference, but at some point, if Kyrie is going to be a truly elite PG, he’ll have to start giving more effort on the defensive side of the ball. And I think he will. These things just take time. Overall, the Warriors will be a nice test for the Cavaliers. On paper I think this could be a really entertaining game, but then again, usually when I think that, the Cavaliers come out flat and uninspired. So beware. We’ve already mentioned the Warriors’ stellar young backcourt and David Lee. In addition to those 3, the starting lineup features Andrew Bogut, who is still adjusting not only to a new team, but to playing with confidence after coming back from his foot/ankle injury last season. It will be interesting to see how Coach Scott chooses to have Andy and Tristan defend Bogut and Lee. Then there’s the SF position, where the Warriors will feature rookie Harrison Barnes. If you recall, many Cavalier fans were outraged on draft night when the Cavaliers selected Waiters over Barnes. Now, we’ll get to see the two play against each other. We’ve already had the intriguing Waiters-Beal matchup. That one was fun because they played the same position, but the Cavaliers never had the option to draft Beal. This one is different because the Cavaliers could have taken Barnes instead of Waiters. Just as nobody should read too much into one, nobody should read too much into 4 games. But Harrison Barnes has definitely gotten off to a slow start in the Warriors’ first 4 games. There’s no question Waiters has been the better player through 4. But that is not a validation of Chris Grant’s decision. Only time can validate that pick. But for tonight, it will be fun to keep an eye on the two rookies to see how they fare. The Warriors’ bench is a decent one as well. They feature Jarrett Jack (who has had some great games against Cleveland in the past), Carl Landry, and Richard Jefferson. They suffered a setback, though, when Brandon Rush tore his left ACL last weekend against Memphis. The Cavaliers’ bench could have injury issues of their own, as there is still no word as to Tyler Zeller’s availability as of this writing. If Zeller can’t play, it will be interesting to see if Byron Scott reverts back to Luke Walton or if he gives Samardo Samuels some minutes. All in all, I’m not sure what to expect from this matchup. This early in the season, I haven’t seen much of the Warriors. I’ve watched every minute of the Cavaliers and I can’t even tell you what to expect from them. That’s the fun of these early season matchups. We’re all still trying to get a feel for what’s real and what’s illusion. Either way, I think tonight’s game has a lot of potential to be a really fun matchup to watch. _____ Image Source: AP Photo
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

While We’re Waiting… Loving the dynamic duo, Irving and Waiters

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. “Last but not least, the two-headed monster that Byron Scott has dreamt about since the draft finally came to fruition last night: Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters combined...

Waiters lifts Cavs past Clippers

Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were apt to follow up a tough loss with another defeat. Things are slowly changing. Rookie Dion Waiters hit seven 3-pointers in scoring 28 points and Kyrie Irving added 24 points in a 108-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night that snapped a two-game skid two nights after losing by three to Milwaukee. Coach Byron Scott called...

Starting 5: No Waiting

Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1: Waiters sinks Clippers It did not take long for Dion Waiters to find his footing in the NBA. After two years largely spent coming off the bench at Syracuse and being a change-of-pace guard, Waiters was selected with the fourth pick overall by the Cavaliers. He has stepped right...

Young Cavs give reason to take notice now

Think about this: Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are both 20 years old. Then think about this: The Cavaliers could be 3-1 right now. Then consider this: The Clippers were coming off a home loss to Golden State facing a very young Cavs team and back on their own floor. Yet the Cavs won anyway, 108-101, in a fun and up-and-down game Monday that featured something resembling playoff...

Cavaliers’ coaster ride heads back up in win over the Clippers

About an hour west of Cleveland, Ohio exists the Millennium Force. Comprised of steal and dreams, it was the first roller coaster to exceed 300 feet in maximum height. Given it’s lakefront abode, it’s the kind of coaster that plasters bugs to the back of your throat if you choose to enjoy the thrills with your mouth agape; tears streaming across your temples is almost unavoidable...

Dion Waiters Provides Good Service!

Last night the Cavaliers went to Los Angeles and shocked the Clippers. Well, it shocked me anyway. I’m easy to shock, I guess. From a fantasy perspetive let’s take a look at the minutes log for the 5 Non Lebrons last night. Kyrie Irving – 37, Dion Waiters - 32, Alonzo Gee – 34, Tristan Thompson 34, Anderson Varejao – 36, Tyler Zeller – 24. Nobody else had more than 20...

Box Score: Cavaliers 108, Clippers 101

The Cavaliers came out in this one sloppy, sluggish, and looking almost confused. It was an alarming start and most fans watching braced themselves for a long night. Little did we know how great of a game we were in for. Kyrie Irving absolutely willed his team to life. In a breakout 1st quarter, Irving had 16 points to wake his team up and spark energy and belief into his team. And...

Cavs, Warriors a tale of two backcourts

The Cleveland Cavaliers' young backcourt just carried them to victory. The Golden State Warriors' two young guards both came up just short. Cleveland continues a season-high six-game trip Wednesday night when the Warriors go for their first home win of the season. Led by seven 3-pointers and 28 points - both season highs - from rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, and 24 and...

Cavaliers beat Clippers to end 2-game skid

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were apt to follow up a tough loss with another defeat. Things are slowly changing. Rookie Dion Waiters hit seven 3-pointers in scoring 28 points and Kyrie Irving added 24 points in a 108-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night that snapped a two-game skid two nights after losing by three to Milwaukee. Coach...

Cavaliers 108, Clippers 101

LOS ANGELES -- On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers had little trouble with the Los Angeles Lakers' star-studded, veteran lineup. Three days later, the Clippers struggled against the Cleveland Cavaliers' young pups. Cleveland's youthful corps rebounded from an early deficit to trip the Clippers 108-101 Monday night at Staples Center. Cavaliers guards Kyrie Irving...

Cavaliers' kiddie corps runs past Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers had little trouble with the Los Angeles Lakers' star-studded, veteran lineup. Three days later, the Clippers struggled against the Cleveland Cavaliers' young pups. Cleveland's youthful corps rebounded from an early deficit to trip the Clippers 108-101 Monday night at Staples Center. Cavaliers guards Kyrie Irving...

WFNY Podcast – 2012-11-08 – Rick and Craig are at it again

Bye week banter with a case of election hangover. Craig and Rick talk about some of the following. Things like elections and superstorms can make writing about sports seem pretty silly and irrelevant The Browns on their bye week All fourth downs are not created equally The new Cavaliers and how exciting Dion Waiters’ Clippers game was Tyler Zeller and his cheek fracture / concussion...

Cavaliers-Warriors Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers' young backcourt just carried them to victory. The Golden State Warriors' two young guards both came up just short. Cleveland continues a season-high six-game trip Wednesday night when the Warriors go for their first home win of the season. Led by seven 3-pointers and 28 points - both season highs - from rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, and 24...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.