2010 NBA Playoffs: The Los Angeles Lakers Have Survived and Thrived on Defense

Before the NBA postseason began, there were many doubts voiced concerning the possibility of a repeat for the Los Angeles Lakers, and most felt the defending champions would be lucky to escape the first round.

Well, the Lakers did silence the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of their first round playoff series, and after two wins over the Utah Jazz in the semifinals, perception may slowly be shifting about the strength of the Lakers.

The Lakers have been plagued with injuries and questions about their consistency, but it's hard to debate the consistency of the Lakers' defense, because so far it has been the NBA's best this postseason.

The Lakers are holding opponents to a playoff-low 39 percent shooting from the field, and they are also the playoffs' leading rebounding team at 45 per game, a figure which reflects on the interior dominance of the team's terrific post trio.

Pau Gasol has been the leader of the pack, and his numbers are astounding. In the last three games Gasol has recorded 45 rebounds, 32 which were defensive, and he has added nine blocks.

In the same period of time, Lamar Odom has contributed 34 rebounds, 25 of them defensive, and he has eight blocks of his own. Then throw in Andrew Bynum and his 28 rebounds, 20 of them defensive, and you have a recipe for post dominance.

That's a total of 107 rebounds and 19 blocks over a span of three games by just three players, and the fact that 75 of the rebounds were defensive means opponents got limited opportunities for second shots.

If the Lakers' superior defense begins in the paint, then it certainly ends in the capable hands of Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest on the perimeter, as the Lakers are holding the opposition to 31 percent from long range.

The only team with a better defensive percentage from the three point line is the Orlando Magic, and it's no surprise they are the number tw...

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