The young Cavs have shown potential, especially at the start of the season, but they’ve hit a lull in recent weeks.
“These past couple days of practice have been trying to rebuild and it starts with the defensive end first,” Larry Nance Jr. said at Friday’s shootaround. “The biggest thing just has to be effort. There’s no reason to not play hard.”
“They took the fight to us,” Nance said. “We really got to come out aggressive.”
The Cavaliers are hoping rookies like Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. grow throughout the season.
Garland is shooting the ball well over the past six games. He’s averaging 14.5 points per game on 46 percent shooting, which is a sign that things are slowing down for the 19-year-old rookie.
“Just his overall floor presence [has grown>,” Nance said. “His shot has really come along. He’s starting to get more aggressive.
“He got drafted as a shooter. We’ve seen him rip the nets off of these rims.”
The Cavaliers will stress the importance of defense, but they have one of their worst offenses in the league. They’re averaging 104.2 points per game, which is 28th in the NBA.
Kevin Love has only scored 20 points once since Nov. 15. He did miss three games due to a back injury during that span. This team needs Love to play like a star if they’re going to be competitive on a nightly basis. He’s averaging 13 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in his last six contests. Love averaged 18.7 points and 12.6 rebounds in his first 11 games this season.
Dylan Windler continues to make progress as he battles back from a stress reaction in his left leg. The Cavs’ rookie played for the Canton Charge on Thursday night. It was his first game since the NBA Summer League. He finished with eight points and four rebounds in 17 minutes.
Windler is expected to continue playing with the Charge for another week or two before rejoining the Cavaliers.