There is no hiding that the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-7) have defensive problems that may take a lot of time to get cleared up before they can operate at their fullest potential as a unit. They will have a chance to do that on Sunday, as the Cavs will be traveling west to take on the Philadelphia 76ers (5-4) at Wells Fargo Center just after falling to the Dallas Mavericks. The Wine and Gold will suit up to take on the 76ers at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and the game can be locally watched on FSO and listened to on WTAM.
The 76ers are without their newly acquired center Andrew Bynum, and may be without him for a much longer period. It’s interesting to think that the Cavaliers were in talks to send Anderson Varejao in a trade to end up with Bynum. Still, the 76ers have looked like a drag offensive team and haven’t been spectacular on the defensive side of things. Here is a better look at how the teams match up statiscally:
Cavaliers (2-7, 1-5 away)
Offensive Efficiency – 98.7 (23rd)
Pace – 98.0 (2nd)
Turnover Ratio – 14.7 (22nd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 47.8 (14th)
Defensive Efficiency – 107.7 (30th)
Average Points – 97.6 (16th)
Average Rebounds – 39.9 (24th)
Average Assists – 20.3 (23rd)
Average Points Allowed – 104.6 (30th)
76ers (5-4, 2-3 home)
Offensive Efficiency – 94.9 (27th)
Pace – 94.0 (21st)
Turnover Ratio – 13.1 (6th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 45.2 (26th)
Defensive Efficiency – 97.2 (4th)
Average Points – 89.2 (29th)
Average Rebounds – 42.3 (15th)
Average Assists – 19.4 (25th)
Average Points Allowed – 91.3 (3rd)
The Cavaliers have allowed opponents to put up 100 points on them in the last eight games, going a combined 1-7 during that stretch. The Cavaliers will try to break that streak, along with a five-game skid, against a 76ers offense that has only been able to put up triple digits once this season. This Philadelphia team has suffered some ugly losses to the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, but has upended some top tier teams such as the Boston Celtics. Cleveland will be back on the road again, but this game presents them with the chance to give this team some identity.
A stat line that was appalling in Saturday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks was that Kyrie Irving didn’t finish with one assist the whole entire game, something that he said he did for the first time since high school. For a team that ranks second in the NBA in possessions per game, Irving should be finding his teammates more proficiently. This should all be done while keeping up with the 24.4 points per game average that he has been able to keep up from the early beginnings of the 2012-13 season. The reason I am singling out Kyrie’s passing options in this particular game is because he will be going up against one of the top passers in the game right now in Jrue Holiday. The Philadelphia point guard is dishing out close to nine assists per game, while putting up 19.1 points at the same time. The NBA is becoming a league full of talented floor generals, so Kyrie will always be an important player to look at in matchups such as this one.
The fact that the Cavaliers have the worst defense in the league cannot be ignored. They’re a team in transition, so there is a lot to be learned and a lot of time to do it. Things need to get better sooner rather than later, though. It starts with a home-and-home series against an offense that can’t muster up on average 90 points.