BOSTON (CBS) — Expectations are through the roof for the Cavaliers after LeBron James brought his talents back to Cleveland over the summer, but a 3-3 start has many fans and pundits questioning how good the NBA’s newest wannabe super team actually is.
The Cavaliers are in Boston Friday night for their first game of the season against the Celtics, a game that has no doubt led to a little extra game-planning for head coach Brad Stevens and his staff.READ MORE: Food & Wine Names Best Burgers In Every State: See The Top Picks For New England
Read: Celtics-Cavs Preview
If the 2014-15 Cavaliers have issues, Stevens hasn’t seen them.
“If they have issues, those are great issues to have,” Stevens joked on his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak Friday afternoon. “They have a ton of talent. They’ve got top three players at three different positions, and the best player on the planet leading the way.
“They don’t have any issues from my standpoint, and the bottom line is they’re going to get everybody’s best shot every night,” continued Stevens. “That’s a hard position to be in.”
He’s only been in the NBA for just over a year, but it didn’t take long for Stevens to figure out that you can’t stop LeBron.
“This is not a one dimensional player who occasionally scores or occasionally passes; this is a great scorer and a great playmaker,” he said. “If you decide to double-team a guy like this you better expect other guys to shoot wide open shots, because he’s a phenomenal passer. If you play him straight up, you better expect for him to score.READ MORE: Gabby Thomas, Mass. Native And Harvard Grad, Sprints To 200 Meter Bronze In Tokyo Olympics
“At the end of the day, you just try to manage it. It’s easier said than done,” said Stevens. “On nights that he’s going, he’s going to be hard to stop. You just have to do your very best against him and be locked into the fact that he makes everyone else around him better.
“He’s a guy who has the ultimate physical ability, but he also has the ultimate mental ability and an unselfishness about the way he plays.”
As for his own team, Stevens hasn’t been very pleased with their defense to start the season. All preseason there was premium placed on improving the defensive side of the floor, but the Celtics have allowed 106.4 points per game over their first seven games — ranking 27th in the NBA.
“I think we’ve played halves of it, but I don’t think – other than maybe the game before in Chicago – I don’t think we’ve played a full game of it and we need to,” Steven said of the team’s defensive performance. “We have to be really detail-oriented on every possession and we have to play with multiple efforts on each possession. When we don’t, and we let the ball get to where the other team wants to get it, it’s going to be hard to stop.
“We need to do a better job of being there on the catch on guys who can shoot, a better job of handling some of the actions earlier so we’re not in a position where guys to get to the rim and we’re getting into a jumping contest,” he said.
Tune in to Friday night’s Celtics-Cavaliers game on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage with Cedric Maxwell and Sean Grande begins at 7pm!MORE NEWS: Phoenix Police Say Foul Play Not Suspected In Death Of Hiker Angela Tramonte Of Saugus
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