After the Cavaliers’ 127-115 home loss to the Wizards on Saturday night, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue claimed to have something up his sleeve to fix the team’s porous defense.
While the Cavs, who are 6-8 in the month of March, have watched their lead over the Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the East dwindle to a half-game, Lue said he doesn’t want to implement his plan too early. Postseason preparedness is of higher priority than home-court advantage over Boston, apparently.
"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 (playoff) series and be able to adjust to what we do,"Lue said, per Cleveland.com. "We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens."
How bad has that “normal defense” been? The Cavs rank 23rd in defensive efficiency for the season, and since March 1, they are 29th out of 30 teams, ahead of only the Lakers.
In addition to allowing John Wall to drop 37 points on them and the Wizards to shoot 60 percent from the field, the Cavs were outrebounded 40-32 on Saturday. They rank 17th in the league in rebound margin at -0.7 per game.
"I think the rebounding hurt us,"Lue said. “But it will be different once some other things happen. ... We have something to fix that. Just not right now."
Unfortunately for Cavs fans, Lue isn’t sure his solution is actually a solution, offering this less-than-comforting comment: "I'm not confident, but we got to (get the defense fixed)."