The first sip
The Cavs’ defense hasn’t been great in their five straight losses. Opponents are shooting an incredibly good 42.9% against them from beyond the arc. The Cavs aren’t allowing a remarkably greater amount of three-point attempts during this losing streak, but they are allowing teams to get hot, like the Minnesota Timberwolves did, and have run into bad shooting teams that hit everything like the Bucks.
I don’t think the Cavs are as bad of a defense as they appear to be these last five games. Some of that is running into the wrong team at the wrong time which happens over the course of an 82 game season. That said, not having Jarrett Allen out there does hurt their ability to grab rebounds and end defensive possessions among other things.
We saw that issue pop up in their recent losses to Minnesota and Milwaukee. The Timberwolves were able to grab 28.2% of their misses which is the fourth highest percentage of rebounds the Cavs have given up on the season. Cleveland followed that up by allowing the Bucks to grab 38% of their misses which resulted in 13 offensive rebounds and 21 second chance points.
Those are the kinds of things that simply don’t happen with Allen out there. The Cavs only allow opponents to grab 19.3% of their misses with Allen on the court which is in the 99th percentile for players on/off numbers. Opponents are grabbing 27.6% of their misses without him on the court.
We know Allen is the captain of the defense. Him paired with Evan Mobley is why the Cavs defense can be so good. But, the team’s ability to limit opponents to one shot attempt when he is on the floor is one of the things the Cavs have missed most these past two games. It would also help if teams stopped shooting the cover off the ball.
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