Nick Wright reveals what LeBron’s Cavs must do to defeat Pacers in round one of the East

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In his conversation with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe, Nick Wright reveals what LeBron James and the (4) Cleveland Cavaliers need to do to defeat the (5) Indiana Pacers and advance to the second round in the East.

- This is what Mike Fratello, Coach Fratello, said yesterday that he thinks the Cavs, to a degree, can use the first round as almost some live practice to get ready for what a lot of people thought would be their toughest match-up in these playoffs, the Toronto Raptors. We didn't think Cavs-Raptors would be round two. But it's looking like, assuming both, neither one gets upset in round one, it will be round two.

So the most important thing they have to do is figure out what the hell their rotation is, period, point blank. Now, every team is going to change their rotation slightly in the post-season. But the Cavs we saw game 81, their start of the second quarter unit involved two centers, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance, Jr. It had two centers, two point guards in George Hill and Jose Calderon, and the scoring option was JR. That is not a tenable playoff lineup.

So figuring out-- Ty Lue said yesterday, we're going to have our 10-man rotation in the playoffs. Man, there's only nine guys that I'm certain are in that rotation. Figuring out who the 10th guy is if you are going to go with a 10-man rotation, figuring out how many minutes is important, do we want all of Kyle Korver's minutes to come with LeBron on the court because he is in such a better position to score with LeBron out there?

How are we going to split up Kevin Love-LeBron minutes? Things that they have not been able to do during the regular season because the roster has been turning over due to injury, and due to trade, and due to guys coming back from injury repeatedly throughout the year,

- And regardless of who's out there on the court, the Cavs have to play better defense. 29th in the NBA, so do they concentrate on that? That's where they can improve instantly. When they throw up the first toss for the tip ball, if they made a conscious decision, whoever's in the rotation-- that being an eight-man rotation, 10-man rotation-- we're going to play better defense. Collectively, the Cavs should-- that's what they should be concentrating on.

The other thing based on Indiana. Indiana, they don't run a lot of motion the way other teams do. They don't play with their whole bunch a lot of pace. It boils down to they're 28th in the NBA as far as assists per field goal. So they do a lot of one-on-one or pick-and-roll basketball. So collectively, I just believe the defensive emphasis-- and as individuals when they're not assisting on buckets like that, you have to play good individual defense.

So who's ever in the rotation, they're going to have to play great team defense. And also from an assist standpoint, Indiana is not moving the ball the way the rest of the teams in the NBA we have seen with the pace and the spacing. So they're more individual efforts. So I believe that, collectively, each person has to take it personal. And I believe that's the way that they're able to get through this series swiftly.

- We're looking past the Pacers. The Pacers did beat him a couple of times this season. I know it was a different roster. But they've had 30 different rosters already this season.

- The Pacers won the season series 3 to 1. Typically, that would concern you. The reason it doesn't so much is because of what you said, that the first couple of games it was pre-Isaiah coming back. The third game was when Isaiah was back. The fourth game was right before the trade deadline. So Isaiah's-- they haven't played as this version of the Cavs. CC's point about the defense, this is what to watch for.

We will find out if Cleveland has a switch to flip. We found out last year in the first round they did. They were 29th in the league in defense. And it's not over the course of the year like they were this year but from the All-Star break to the end of the season. And then the first round, all of a sudden, LeBron is flying all over the place. The defense is markedly improved.

They don't have to be great defensively against the Pacers. But they will have to be good defensively every series post the Pacers. What we'll find out in the first round is do they have that capability? Do they have the ability to actually be an adequate NBA defense?

I believe they do. I think they have the athleticism. I think they have the bodies. But I'd be lying if I said we've seen it. Even when the Cavs were on their great stretches, it's because the offense was elite. It's not because all of a sudden they were shutting people down defensively. So that's what to watch for.