Defense and Depth Are Positioning Cavaliers for a Serious Title Run

December 30th, 2009 by Tom Delamater Leave a reply »
Another test, another passing grade.

That was the result Tuesday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers locked down the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter en route to a 95-84 win at Phillips Arena.

The spirited and steadily improving Hawks played with energy and determination for three quarters and trailed by just one point, 75-74, entering the final period.

But the Cavaliers, as they so often do, relied on their defense to put the game away. They held Atlanta scoreless for almost nine minutes to begin the fourth quarter, and the once-energized Hawks seemed perplexed as they limped to the final buzzer.

It was the fifth straight win for Cleveland, and 10th in their last 11 games. Don’t look now, but the victory placed the Cavaliers atop the Eastern Conference, a half-game better than Boston.

What’s been evident during this impressive run is that the Cavs enjoy more depth than their opponents. They’re legitimately 10 players deep, and all 10 could be a factor on almost any other roster in the league.

On Tuesday night, LeBron James never got into a rhythm offensively, scoring just 14 points on 6-for-2 ...

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