The defensive struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers have been well documented. Now, we can include Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum among its critics.
Speaking on the Pull up Podcast, McCollum was asked which Eastern Conference finalist makes opponents work harder. He didn’t sugarcoat his response.
“Cleveland is one of the worst defensive teams I’ve ever played against, honestly,” he said, as transcribed by Ryne Nelson of Slam Online. “I think it’s just the spacing. They have a lot of players on their roster throughout the season, so terminologies not the same, the continuity isn’t always there.”
The Cavaliers have certainly had a lot of roster turnover in recent years.
Based on the numbers, the Cleveland defense may not be the worst that McCollum has ever played against. Still, the stats aren’t good for the Cavs.
During the regular season, the Cavaliers ranked 26th in points allowed per game, 28th in opponent field goal percentage, and tied for 20th in opponent three-point percentage.
McCollum did add that “when it’s time to lock in and focus on one team, their defense is a lot better.”
That, along with the presence of LeBron James, definitely goes a long way in explaining why the Cavs are two wins away from a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance.