2017 NBA Finals: Best defensive players through Game 2

May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 8, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) sits on the bench with forward Kyle Korver (26) during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeated Indiana 132-117. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 8, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) sits on the bench with forward Kyle Korver (26) during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cleveland defeated Indiana 132-117. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

With their barrage of turnovers, and poor rebounding, it is obvious the Cavaliers have work to do at both ends of the floor. Defensively speaking, they need greater contributions from these three players:

LeBron James

Heavy lies the crown. Despite carrying the biggest offensive load, LeBron must also play good defense to stand a chance against the Warriors. To this point, he has not done so. KD blew by him several times in Game 1, as did Steph. He wasn’t exceptional in Game 2, and – despite hauling in many defensive rebounds – did not box out well in either game.

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Tristan Thompson

Everyone knew, going into the NBA Finals, the Cavs had to dominate on the glass. Thompson barely played in Game 1, and failed to box out. Rebounding is a huge part of playing good defense, and the Warriors have out rebounded the Cavaliers 103-100 at this point, which has allowed them to play Durant at the center spot for extended minutes.

Considering the Cavaliers have made 41 turnovers through two games – to the Warriors’ 24 – winning the rebounding battle is a must. Thomspon’s offensive has remained predictably vanilla, and he has yet to block a single shot. Kevin Love’s emergence as the team’s best big man should be seen as largely Thompson’s failure to take that title for himself.

Any Cleveland Guard – Seriously, anyone

Deron Williams is terrible on defense. He committed unnecessary foul after unnecessary foul in Game 2, after failing to provide any help defense in the first game. Irving was guilty of similar laziness. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert – considered the Cavs’ best wing defenders – were completely invisible in the first game, and failed to fight over screens to stay on Steph Curry and Klay Thompson all of Game 2.

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Both tried to guard the taller Durant, which proved fruitless because Durant had unlimited range all game. If the Cavs want to Defend the Land and avoid a sweep, it’s time for the whole roster to play better defense.