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Quick look: Nylon Calculus isolates some Cavs defensive improvement

Trending down: opponent's two point field goal percentage

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fogle over at Hardwood Paroxysm's Nylon Calculus took a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers recent victories over the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors. It's always nice to get an outside look at the Cavaliers, and there's no shortage of smart basketball people writing about the sport. One of the benefits of having a relevant team is more minds looking at what happens on the court for Cleveland.

Fogle took a look at a number of things going on with the Cavaliers, and you should check out the whole article. I particularly found this excerpt about the team's defense interesting:

The Defense Has STOPPED Resting

The 47 percent allowed on two-point shots in New York, and the 44 percent allowed inside the arc in Toronto fall naturally into our improving number line. We now have a lot of recent 40’s to go with all of those early season mid-fifties. (The midpoints are in parenthesis)


As we mentioned last time, using chronological order really paints the picture of a team slowly accepting the need to really commit to inside defense.

First Five: 54-47-58-57-52 (median 54, composite .535 on 149/278)

Next Five: 44-62-54-54-52 (median 54, composite .531 on 167/314)

Last Eight: 50-43-38-48-42-53-47-44 (midpoints 44-47, composite .457 on 235/514)

That’s six of the last seven games holding teams to 48 percent or lower inside the arc. Feels like a new reality with that many samples settling in so consistently. There’s still not much margin for error given the lack of depth on the team. For now, defense isn’t a negative.

As Trevor noted last week, it seems as though the Cavaliers are trying to encourage teams to avoid three point attempts and keep them off the free throw line. It stands to reason that if the Cavaliers can both do this and limit the efficacy of two point shots, the team's defense might end up being alright. The Cavaliers are currently 15th in the league in defensive efficiency.

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