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PREVIEW: Cavaliers look to avoid three-game losing streak tonight against Knicks

2. Back to basics on defense

This might as well be a key for every game, until the Cavs actually start doing it consistently. Last night, the Pelicans made just 13 threes. On paper it looks better than the 17 the Cavs gave up in each of the previous three games. That doesn’t remain the case when you remember that the Pelicans have the luxury of playing inside-out, given Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in the middle. Against the Cavs, they were perfectly content to stay inside.

The Cavs currently rank 26th in the league in defensive rating, with a pretty abysmal 109.3. They also rank 23rd in defensive field goal percentage, allowing opponents to shoot 46.0 percent from the field. Opponents are also shooting just over 39 percent from deep against them.

Yes, it’s early and yes, there are still plenty of games to go. But. against teams that they should be beating handily, the Cavs are collapsing. Sunday offers yet another chance for improvement.

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Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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