Where Does The LA Lakers Defense Rank Among The NBA’s Top Teams?

Defense was the theme of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, and for those teams wishing to contend for 2011's championship, it would be in their best interests to recognize the value in that logic.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, and the Boston Celtics were the NBA's top teams for much of the 2009-10 regular season, and it should come as no surprise that all four were among the league's best defensive teams.

Teams that have strong defensive roots usually thrive in the postseason because the slower pace generally favors whichever team is more disciplined in a half-court set.

Man-to-man defense and strong rebounding are critical because transition opportunities are limited in the NBA postseason, and offenses tend to run at a more deliberate pace.

The Phoenix Suns were the only offensively-minded team able to reach the conference finals last season, and next season may see the league's best teams shift even further to the defensive end.

To be fair, teams like the Lakers, Miami Heat, and the Magic will still be able to dazzle you on the offensive end, but each team's title hopes rest on the ability of their defensive units to get stops.

The defending champion Lakers were arguably the postseason's top defensive team, as they held opponents below 37 percent shooting from the field and led all playoff teams in rebounding.

The Lakers' defense was consistently good all regular season, but in the postseason their energy level was elevated, and their focus and attention was heightened.

Ron Artest met the expectations of Lakers' fans as he proved to be a physical nightmare to the opposition, and the combination of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum were dominant on the boards.

Kobe Bryant and Bynum were forced to play through injuries from the opening round against Oklahoma City, but the Lakers were able to persevere because the...

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