2 adjustments Cleveland Cavaliers should make ahead of Game Three against the Magic

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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1. The Cavaliers should switch to zone defense to stop the Magic's rhythm

Under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the Cavaliers have continually ranked among the best in the NBA for defensive rating. This regular season, the Cavs battled for a top-three spot for most of the year but fell in the final stretch with countless injuries and a horrific travel schedule. Cleveland's defensive strategy has relied heavily on man-to-man coverage, reserving zone defense for desperate moments.

In the playoffs, the league's best defenses utilize zone far more often. The Miami Heat have built their hardened reputation off lockdown zone defense throughout the regular season and postseason. Last playoffs, the Heat had the fourth-best net rating and eighth-best defensive rating to fuel their unlikely trip to the NBA Finals. Miami's relentless energy in zone defense pushed the Boston Celtics to flounder in the conference finals, bringing the value of zone defense to the spotlight.

For the Cavaliers, a zone defense will help eliminate any attempts by the Magic to seek and exploit mismatches. Since his rookie season, Evan Mobley has established himself as a premier weakside defender and floater, allowing him to thrive in any defensive scheme and cover the hardwood from the perimeter to the rim seamlessly. In the first two games, Mobley has dominated both sides of the court. If Bickerstaff implements a zone in Game Three, Mobley's versatility will help the Cavs continue to force the Magic into uncomfortable shot attempts or last-second threes from non-shooters.

Both Donovan Mitchell and Max Strus have anchored the starting lineup's outside defense, making them primary options to cover the majority of the wings and funnel cutters into Allen and Mobley's zones toward the inside. While Darius Garland will be hunted on defense, a quick switch into a zone could help alleviate some of the issues that plague Garland's physical limitations.