Yes. And no.
By the eye test, you'd probably say the Cavs are still a not a very good defensive team. They finished the regular season 22nd in defensive rating and allowed an average of 104.8 points per game through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
But the Cavs are showing signs of improvement, namely that they're not a turnstile around the basket the way they were during the regular season. Their 105.9 defensive rating through the first two rounds of the playoffs is second only behind the Warriors, and we just got done, albeit about a week ago, watching the Raptors, a pretty good offensive team, struggle at times to score while being swept out of the Eastern Conference semis.
You can easily make the case that the Raptors are a more dynamic offensive team than the Celtics, but we know who the better team is. The question is will the defensive pressure Cleveland's shown recently—especially with Tristan Thompson on the floor when the Cavs' defensive rating plummets to 96.5—carry over into the conference finals against a significantly better squad (by Eastern Conference standards)? —A.C.