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PREVIEW: James, Harden clash in star-studded, primetime matchup on Saturday

  1. Defense, defense, defense

The Cavs are arguably the worst defensive team in basketball, as evidenced by their 109.2 defensive rating, a mark only lower than Sacramento (109.8) and Phoenix (109.9). Opponents are scoring a whopping 47.4 points in the paint per game vs. Cleveland this year, and that figures to continue with a thinned frontcourt comprised of Tristan Thompson, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye.

Recency bias might say otherwise.

The defending Eastern Conference champions limited Miami to a 43.4 percent (36-of-83) clip from the field and 10.7 percent (3-of-28) mark from beyond the arc this past Wednesday. The Heat committed 20 turnovers, an encouraging sign on the second night of a back-to-back.

Sustaining this defense will be a priority, as the Rockets rank second in the NBA in offense (113.8 ppg).

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John Alfes is a senior at John Carroll University, and hails from Westlake, Ohio. His love and passion for the game of baseball originated in 1998, when he played catch with his father at the age of two. A former collegiate pitcher, Alfes currently serves as a Cleveland Cavaliers reporter for AP Radio/Metro Networks and the Cleveland Indians Beat Writer for CBS Sports/Scout Media Network, all while majoring in Communications (focus in Journalism) and English (focus in Professional Writing). He is the Sports Editor for The Carroll News, Sports Director for WJCU 88.7 FM and Senior Writer for the John Carroll Sports Information Department. John is an Eagle Scout and loves his two younger brothers (Conrad and Daniel) and two parents (John and Celeste). You can follow John Alfes on Twitter (@JohnAlfes) or reach him through email (

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