Defense was a point of emphasis in practice this week for the Cavs (2-6) after returning from their six-game road trip ranked last in the NBA in defense. They welcomed the Dallas Mavericks (6-5) into the Q, but ended up falling 103-95.
It was obvious there was improvement in their defense as they surrendered 24 points in the first quarter, a slight improvement from previous games. Daniel Gibson led the way in the first quarter connecting while Dion Waiters struggled shooting. But Waiters didn’t let his struggles get the best of him in the second quarter as he stopped shooting jumpers, and started driving to the hoop.
The second quarter belonged to Waiters and Irving as they combined for half of the team’s points in the quarter.
The Cavaliers stayed competitive the whole game but ended up falling to the Mavericks
Although the defense looked a tiny bit better in the first quarter, they still allowed the Mavs to shoot 50% from the field.
Anderson Varejao was practically non-existent tonight as he finished the night with 4 points, 7 rebounds.
Coming into the game Irving and Waiters were the league’s top backcourt duo, averaging just less than 39 points per game. Saturday they combined for 42 as Irving finished with 26 and Waiters followed up with his average of 16.
It was Tyler Zeller’s first game back from injury sporting his new mask and scoring only three points off the bench. With Zeller back in the lineup, Jon Leuer found his name off the roster and was replaced by Jeremy Pargo in hope to spark a flame on bench production.
The Cavs travel to Philedelphia to take on the 76ers tomorrow night. The Sixers come into the game with a 5-4 record.