Switching Off Cleveland's Offense

How the Celtics stifled the Cavs' offense in Game 1, and what Cleveland can do to counter.

By almost any conventional measure, this is the worst LeBron James team we’ve seen in 10 years. Cleveland won 50 games, just one fewer than last season, but with a markedly different point differential: they outscored opponents by 0.7 points per 100 possessions, which typically would result in 43 wins. That’s the largest difference between wins and point differential that we’ve seen since 2005-06. It’s also only the third time in LeBron’s career that his team outscored opponents by less than one point per game (the others coming in 2007-08 and was his rookie season).

The problems aren’t on the offensive end. The Cavs ended the regular season ranked 5th on offense, despite the loss of Kyrie Irving and the disappointing play of offseason acquisitions Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas. Their defense has been the main culprit, as they finished the year ranked 29th on defense, with the worst effective field goal defense in the league.

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