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Sports Then and Now



Proof That Defense Matters In The NBA 0

Posted on January 25, 2020 by Dan Karpuc

As of Thursday night, the eight teams that lead the NBA in Defensive Rating have a combined 245-111 (.688 winning percentage). The bottom eight teams in that metric have a combined 120-235 (.358 winning percentage). Every bottom-eight team has a sub-.500 record and just one team (Orlando Magic: 21-24) has a sub-.500 mark from the top-eight group. Therefore, even in today’s offensive-oriented, perimeter-centric NBA, defense matters… a lot.

The top-eight teams (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Magic and Utah Jazz) share some of the most crucial components of a sound defense. It is no surprise that the people who give out NBA expert picks are making a killing betting these teams this season. All of these teams do a great job with limiting high-percentage shots in the paint, creating turnovers, box out and grab boards and, in turn, limit opposing second-chance points. In many ways, their defensive prowess sets the tone for their offense. Creating turnovers often times leads to fast-break opportunities and high-percentage shots around the rim or wide-open looks on the perimeter. Repeatedly getting stops leads on defense also leads to some impressive scoring runs on the other end of the floor, where the offense can feed off of the momentum. 

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