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Basketball News

The Cavaliers motivate themselves with a new defensive statistic

Year after year, NBA attacks become more and more effective. To give an idea of ​​the phenomenon, the six best offenses of the current season (Indiana, Milwaukee, Boston, Oklahoma City, LA Clippers and Philadelphia) are all on the bases of breaking the record for the most efficient offense, established l year passed by the Kings…

“The game has evolved so much. He has changed in terms of style” recognizes JB Bickerstaff. “We have to fight against our old habits, because this is for the current generation of fans. And this generation of fans likes to see the points scored, they like the 3-point shots, they like the fast game, not necessarily the slow games of 85 or 88 possessions, with coaches who demand a system every time their team has the ball. »

For the defenses, it is therefore also a question of changing their perception of things.

In Cleveland, 3rd best defense (110.8 points conceded on 100 possessions) and the most fit team in the NBA currently with 7 victories in a row, despite the absences of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, we obviously use the usual defensive stats (blocks, interceptions , deflected balls, rebounds, contested shots, shooting percentage of the opposing team, etc.) but we invented another: suffocation, “suffocation” in original language.

Internal motivation

What is it about ? In fact, if the team manages to make three consecutive defensive stops, it results in a choke.

“We try to create as many as possible during a match”explains the Cavaliers coach. “It’s something we talk about within the team as the game goes on. We let the guys know how many we have and how close we are to getting another one. It’s something they rely on. It's an internal motivation. It stimulates the competitive spirit a little.”

So much so that the Cavaliers have gotten into the habit of suffocating their opponents at the start of the match. Even though they have been without Evan Mobley, 3rd in the ranking for best Defender of the Year last season, for twenty games…

“Our defense was unreal at the start of the match”concludes JB Bickerstaff. “It’s a state of mind for us, regardless of the opponent. Our guys have an incredible mentality. Desire, solidarity, competitiveness. I think it’s something the guys have really committed to. It is an intention and a goal when the matches start. They are fully invested in being elite defensively. »

For Dean Wade, it all starts with Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen, who set the tone for the defense.

“We want to throw the first punch”explains the pivot. “We protect each other. The rotations are perfect. If someone attacks the circle, it's up to me to hinder the shot near the circle, but someone else comes to support me, to take my player. We are all extremely focused. »

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