The Cavs won again last night, 108-94, their third in a row after falling below .500 last week. LeBron James put in 26 points on 52 percent shooting against a Bulls team that’s lost two in a row and six of their last 10. While James played well, there was another play that showed LeBron can sometimes take a defensive possession off.
Tony Snell isn’t exactly a household name, but James was manning him up last night and when he crossed over to his left hand, LeBron tried to swing his hand around and poke the ball loose from behind. This is trademark playground defense. Rather than move his feet to get in front of the driving Snell, ‘Bron decided to reach for a steal and Snell took it all the way to the rim for the layup:
This play comes after LeBron decided to let Wesley Johnson take a short, corner three against the Lakers last week, which he made of course.
LBJ used to talk about winning defensive player of the year when he was in Miami. His effort on defense this year has been middling at best. His laziness against Snell is just another example.
For a Cavs team who gives up the fourth-most points per possession in the NBA, and with some still-young superstars who could use a defensive example from Cleveland’s leader, this isn’t going to cut it.
Yes, the Cavs are in the midst of a winning streak, but that’ll only continue against the NBA’s elite if they make a more concerted effort to defend; that has to start with their leader, and so far the effort hasn’t been there from the NBA’s ostensible best player.
What do you think?
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.