The Cavaliers had the second worst defense in the NBA this season, giving up 109.5 points per 100 possessions (take garbage time out of the equation and that jumps to 112). Despite this not being a strong defensive season for him, the Cavaliers were better with LeBron James on the court giving up 104.9 per 100 (which is more middle of the pack in the league).
Despite that, the Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the East, as I get into in this latest PBT Extra.
LeBron has been to seven straight NBA Finals for a reason. He lifts his game up during the playoffs, particularly becoming more focused on the defensive end of the floor — if he can lift the Cavaliers up to just an above average defense, combined with an offense that overwhelms, that may well be good enough to make it happen.
Cleveland does not have a strong supporting cast around LeBron, and Toronto will prove a challenge in the East. But after seven straight Finals trips for LeBron, I’m not betting against him making it eight.