Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 things to watch during rest of season

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Dellavedova, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big Dean Wade (left) and Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova defend. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

#3: Who will defend The Land for the Cavs?

I’ve said this since the beginning of time, and my former basketball players will attest to this, you play defense first and the rest will play out in your favor. I don’t care if it’s a middle schooler, a collegiate player or an NBA All-Star, if you take plays off defensively, you and your team aren’t going to win much. I know there are arguments for a “run-and-gun” style of play but in most cases, defense matters.

I’m going on the eye test, and again I know we’re talking about the NBA, where defense during the regular season is hard to find overall, but the Cavs have players that show up every game that play defense with a passion and others that would rather sit and drink a latte during the game.

When I think of a scrappy Cavs defender I think of guard Matthew Dellavedova. As a veteran, any time he’s given an opportunity to play he always brings that defense. It’s not always pretty and many times he annoys the opponent with his “getting under their skin approach,” but it works. He’s always giving effort going for the loose ball or diving on the floor.

Though the perimeter defense can be suspect at times, I also think guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland are benefiting this season from a guy like Dellavedova being on the team. Both Sexton and Garland have high energy on the defensive end.

Then there’s Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. I’ve always admired Love’s commitment to the Cavs once players like LeBron and Kyrie Irving were no longer on the club. But, it has become annoying to me, at times to see him not commit to playing solid defense.

Now he’s obviously had his share of injury issues, such as most of this season (right calf injury complications), but many times when the ball goes inside on defense he’s giving opponents a free pass to the rim. It’s not a good look, especially one that has so many young kids on it.

A player like wing/forward Taurean Prince also has had moments where his defense is very suspect. He has such quick abilities to get a tipped pass or a loose ball when he’s fully engaged in the game.

But many times if he’s not dropping threes from the outside, his defense goes south too. Too many times his off the ball defense is atrocious. You see him trying to recover defensively many times because he’s usually out of position.

Next. Isaiah Hartenstein continues to be bright spot for Cavs. dark

So Cavs, let’s get ready for a nice stretch run of home games, defend our court and work on passing the “hot potato” around the floor. You’re young and have a lot of energy. Let’s go!