by Marcel Mutoni

Not too long ago, the words “defense” and “LeBron James” didn’t look quite right in the same sentence. But today, friends, they go together like ham and cheese … or something.

As you’ve likely noticed, James has become an absolute terror on the defensive end of the ball (spiking opponents’ shots into the stands with alarming regularity), and in the process giving his critics – that would be yours truly, thanks for asking – less and less to nitpick at with each passing game.

The Plain Dealerasked LeBron about his newfound focus on defense, and he revealed at least one post-season honor he’d love to get his hands on:

“I hope [to make the All-Defense team]. It’s something our team is geared to,” James said. “I take pride it in. I need to work on the perimeter so I can help the rest of our guys out. Hopefully Z [Ilgauskas], Ben [Wallace] and Delonte [West] can get some votes, too.”

“Not only has he done a nice job guarding the guys, but there are a lot of things that the fans can’t see,” said coach Mike Brown. “His communication is just off the charts for us. He’s like the quarterback of our defense. He sits back there and tells guys what to do and what’s going on.”

The nice thing about LeBron’s defense this season isn’t just the proliferation of highlight reel plays, but that he’s legitimately shutting guys down.

Now, if he could just stop chewing his nails, this guy could really become something.