Cavaliers toughen up on defense

PER Diem: Dec. 30, 2009

Updated: December 31, 2009, 10:52 AM ET
By John Hollinger |
LeBron JamesDavid Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty ImagesDon't let the smile fool you. After wilting late last year, these Cavs are some tough hombres.

ATLANTA -- Rumors of Cleveland's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Cavs lost their first two games of the season and were immediately criticized for trading for Shaquille O'Neal. But lo and behold, after Tuesday night's 95-84 win in Atlanta, the Cavs leaped a half-game ahead of Boston for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference.