PELICANS at WARRIORS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 14, 2021

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NBA 14 May, 2021 - 11:13pm 39 views

Why is Curry not playing vs Pelicans?

As they prepare for Sunday's season finale against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors will rest Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. ... Officially, Curry is listed with a tailbone injury and Green is excused with a finger injury. The Mercury NewsWarriors to rest Curry, Green and Wiggins Friday vs. Pelicans ahead of Sunday’s season finale

Curry, Dray get day off as 'banged-up' Warriors near postseason

NBC Sports Bay Area 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

“We have guys who are legitimately banged up right now. I think we just finished six games in nine days if I’m not mistaken," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday. "Steph [Curry] didn’t practice today, Draymond [Green] didn’t practice, [Andrew Wiggins] Wiggs was limited in practice, Damion Lee is getting a workout now, he’s out for tomorrow but he’s starting to get on the floor a little bit. Eric Paschall practiced fully, so he will play, but there’s a lot of unknowns given how banged-up we are right now.”

The Warriors went 5-1 over that six-game stretch, solidifying the team's spot in the upcoming play-in tournament for the NBA playoffs. 

Curry and Green played heavy minutes over those six games, and Kerr emphasized that the two veterans are feeling some wear-and-tear as the season comes to an end.

“Draymond’s knee and Steph’s tailbone is still a lingering concern," Kerr said. "So this was desperately needed having yesterday off and then today, without playing a game. He’s still wearing the padding, he still feels the soreness so it was good for him to get off his feet the last two days, hopefully he’ll be okay  tomorrow.”

Wiggins, who has played in every Warriors game this season, sounds likely to get a night off when the Warriors take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. If the Memphis Grizzlies win Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, the Warriors will be locked into a winner-take-all game Sunday with the Grizzlies at Chase Center for the eighth seed.

“His knee is sore, I can’t remember if it’s the right or the left. It’s been sore the past week or so, but he's just been an ironman this year, playing in every game," Kerr said. "It’d be nice to be able to give him a night off, and obviously, a lot of big games coming up and we’ll see what the training staff says tomorrow and what the circumstances are.”

Paschall hasn't played since April 2 as he dealt with a hip issue, but will be returning to the Warriors' frontcourt at a critical time. Even with the signing of Jordan Bell on Thursday, Paschall's presence still lightens the load for the team's big men, and he should see extensive minutes, especially if the Warriors opt to rest the top players.

Curry has played some of the best basketball of his NBA career in his 12th season and is on the verge of potentially winning his second career scoring title. Draymond is averaging a career-high in assists and continues to provide elite defense on a nightly basis.

The Warriors will need both at full strength for Thursday's pivotal matchup with the Grizzlies, which could be the difference between a chance at the seventh seed in the playoffs and being forced to win two games just to earn the eighth seed.

Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Friday, May 14, 2021

NBA.com 15 May, 2021 - 12:20am

Stephen Curry is averaging 39 points in two games against the Pelicans this season.

• The Warriors and Pelicans split the first two games of the season series, a two-game set in New Orleans on May 3-4. Stephen Curry has averaged 39 points against the Pelicans and attempted more field goals (28.5 per game) and 3-pointers (19.0 per game) than he has against any other team this season. Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 27.5 ppg against Golden State, but he will miss his fifth straight game with a fractured finger.

• The Warriors enter Friday on a four-game win streak with every win crucial to their hopes of finishing with the No. 8 seed in the State Farm Play-In Tournament (thus having to win just one game to secure a playoff berth). The Warriors are tied with the Grizzlies, who have also won four straight; while their season series is tied 1-1, Golden State currently holds the tiebreaker by having a superior conference record. However, the Warriors and Grizzlies meet on the final day of the regular season to determine the head-to-head tiebreaker and the final seedings in the Play-In Tournament — the winner of that game gets No. 8, the loser gets No. 9.

Stephen Curry (31.76 ppg) enters Friday with a 0.35 points per game lead over Bradley Beal (31.41 ppg) in the race for the 2020-21 scoring title. Beal has missed Washington’s last two games with a hamstring injury. If Beal is unable to return, Curry would need to score a total of 42 points over Golden State’s final two games to finish ahead of Beal and claim his second scoring title. Scoring 42 points would bring Curry’s season total to 2,011, which over 64 games played would give him an average of 31.42 ppg.

• Williamson has been ruled out for Friday and with the Pelicans eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention, it is unlikely Zion will play in Sunday’s regular season finale and risk further injury to his broken finger. If his sophomore season is over, it will go down in the history books. Williamson ranks ninth in scoring (27.0 ppg) and seventh in field goal percentage (61.1%); that would be the highest scoring average in NBA history for a player shooting over 60% over the course of a season. The only other player to average at least 25 points and 60% shooting for a season was Kevin McHale in 1986-87 (26.1 PPG, 60.4 FG%); Williamson will top both of those marks.

• Stephen Curry and James Harden are the only players in NBA history to make at least 300 3-pointers in a single season. Curry has now accomplished the feat four times: 2015-16 (402 3-pointers in 79 games), 2016-17 (324 3-pointers in 79 games), 2018-19 (354 3-pointers in 69 games) and 2020-21 (328 in 62 games played). Curry already has the fourth-most 3-pointers made in any season in NBA history in just 62 games. His 5.3 3-pointers made per game is the highest mark ever and 1.2 more than any other player this season (Damian Lillard section at 4.1).

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🎥 Steph Curry Fired Up By Showtime Behind-The-Back Passes from Nico Mannion

ClutchPoints 14 May, 2021 - 11:28pm

The Golden State Warriors definitely showed out against the New Orleans Pelicans. With Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins kept sidelined, the rest of the Dubs made sure to keep things exciting.

Nico Mannion was finally given free rein the showcase his skills. The first year guard hit his opponents with a nasty behind-the-back pass not one, but twice.

S H O W T I M E

📺 @NBCSAuthentic pic.twitter.com/KtnvFrpHgq

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 15, 2021

The first one was a nifty little dish on the break. With both Mychal Mulder and Juan Toscano-Anderson trailing him on the play, it was definitely the right play to make with numbers. But the second one is what really got Stephen Curry riled up on the sidelines. The Warriors star had to do a double celebration, first copying the move and then whipping out his binoculars to point out Mannion’s unreal vision.

bench was HYPED after this one pic.twitter.com/IMnKCol1Wk

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 15, 2021

Despite both plays being particularly fancy, they were admittedly both the right plays to make in those situations. Who says you can’t be flashy while flexing the fundamentals, too? Mannion fooled two defenders to find a wide open JTA on this one.

The Warriors were able to pull off the victory, thanks to some timely shotmaking from a certain Mr. Jordan Poole. The 2nd-year guard made the game-winning bucket to put the Warriors up for good, and got a well-deserved water bath shortly after.

— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 15, 2021

splash after splash after splash

call it a poole party 💧 pic.twitter.com/wbjlzlNqdM

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 15, 2021

Copyright © ClutchPoints. Partner of iOne Digital / Cassius Network.

Warriors observations: Jordan Poole star in 125-122 win vs. Pels

Yahoo Sports 14 May, 2021 - 11:00pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

The stakes were low, the energy high and the conclusion acceptable for the Warriors on Friday, as even while resting three starters they came away with to a 125-122 win over the Pelicans, who treated the game mostly as an audition.

The victory gives the Warriors (38-33) their first five-game win streak this season and puts them five games over .500 for the first time since 2018-19.

With Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins all out of the lineup, Jordan Poole scored a career-high 38 points and Mychal Mulder put in a career-high 28.

The Pelicans, eliminated from the playoff race earlier this week, were without injured starters Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

Here are three observations from a game in which the Warriors blew a 19-point lead that reintroduced a couple players to the Golden State roster:

In a game without competitive consequences, the one thing the Warriors hoped to avoid, above all else, was seeing a rotation player go down with injury. That’s exactly what happened with Poole in the third quarter.

Starting in place of Curry, Poole had scored 24 points when he twisted his left ankle with 9:52 left in the third quarter. Leaping to tap a rebound to a teammate, he landed atop the foot of Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez and fell to the floor clutching his left leg.

Poole limped into the locker room, was examined, returned to the bench, iced the ankle, tested its flexibility and, whoa, returned to the game with 6:05 left in the quarter. He drained two free throws and two triples over the next three minutes. 

In addition to 38 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-9 from distance, Poole recorded six assists and grabbed four rebounds.

After missing 31 games this season and the last six weeks with a hip flexor strain so severe he initially had trouble walking, Paschall was back on the court. His return is a significant insofar as he is the Warriors’ best offensive option as a small-ball center.

The only person in this particular rotation to score as many as 34 points in an NBA game, Paschall’s scoring ability might be beneficial in the play-in game and certainly would come into play should the Warriors advance to the first round of the playoffs.

The most encouraging sight for the Warriors was Paschall making shots with ease, particularly a 3-pointer off the dribble late in the third quarter. The staff has been nudging him to develop the 3-ball, and the work might be paying off.

After 22 months away from the Warriors, Bell entered the game with 2:06 left in the first quarter. He spent the rest of the quarter and much of the second trying to figure out where to go and what to do, all while searching for his timing.

Which was to be expected of someone who since leaving Golden State has been with six different franchises, most recently the Wizards until his second 10-day contract with Washington expired on April 28.

Bell played 15 minutes, finishing with one point, five rebounds and two assists. In short, he got in a decent workout with a group of guys he barely knows.

Jordan Poole scored a go-ahead layup with 21.4 seconds left and made two free throws with less than a second remaining on the way to a career-high 38 points despite an ankle injury scare in the third quarter, and the Golden State Warriors held off the New Orleans Pelicans 125-122 on Friday night while Stephen Curry and other stars rested with injuries. Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 30 points and put New Orleans ahead with 25.9 seconds left, answering Eric Paschall's basket for the Warriors 33 seconds after his offensive rebound. “He came back on fire,” Golden State's Mychal Mulder said of Poole playing on a tender ankle.

Here's how you can watch the Warriors play the Pelicans online and on TV.

Before deciding the No. 8 seed in the play-in tournament against the Grizzlies, the Warriors will meet the Pelicans. Here are the details.

The Warriors will be without three starters Friday night against the Pelicans.

To attack Rudy Gobert and the Jazz defense, Thunder players like Theo Maledon and Svi Mykhailiuk tried a Steve Nash under-the-rim method.

DALLAS (AP) Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks no longer have to worry about that NBA play-in tournament. ... When we were in the 12th or 13th spot, everybody had us out of the playoffs,'' Doncic said. Doncic had his 11th triple-double of the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as they held on to beat the also-ran Toronto Raptors 114-110 in their regular-season home finale Friday night.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers explains what went right for his team in a win over the Orlando Magic.

Each week during the 2020-21 NBA season, we will take a deeper dive into three of the league’s biggest storylines in an attempt to determine whether the trends are based more in fact or fiction moving forward.

Davidson is believed to be the first transgendered woman to win a professional tournament in the U.S.

Russell Westbrook won MVP in 2016-17 despite OKC finishing in sixth place ...

Sabrina Ionescu wins it on a last-second shot? Check.

Are the Patriots interested in adding some cornerback depth.

The NBA released the schedule for the play-in games.

Does the three-time NFL MVP really want out of Green Bay? Does he want to host a TV show? Is he just sulking? Aaron Rodgers was voted NFL MVP by the Associated Press for the 2011, 2014 and 2020 seasons. Photograph: Jeffrey Phelps/AP So, where is Aaron Rodgers going to play this season? Does he really want out of Green Bay? Does he want to host a TV show? Is he just sulking? Is he willing to sink into the mud in order to force through a move if that’s what it requires? Every single non-Chiefs team in the league should pick up the phone to try to figure out the answers. Rarely, if ever, is a franchise quarterback available in their prime available via a trade – a reigning league MVP has never been traded. Rodgers may be 37 year 0ld, but he still has at least four to five more years of high-level play in his legs. It’s worth remembering: Tom Brady has started as many Super Bowls since turning 37 (five) as any other quarterback has all-time. Given his excellence from the pocket, Rodgers’ game should age just as gracefully. Still: We can whittle down the list quite quickly. Realistically, those teams who already feel like they have a young, future franchise-caliber quarterback will not pick up the phone. Neither will the teams who have recently been rebuffed and so moved on to new targets in the draft (the 49ers, the Patriots). The Colts are out of it after making a move for Carson Wentz at the start of the offseason; the same goes for the Lions and the Rams. And you can rule out any team that already has an aging quarterback whose absorbing a big chunk of that team’s salary cap (Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, et al). That leaves us with six potential landing spots – with apologies to the Giants, who should make the call but won’t. Denver Broncos The rumors of a Rodgers-to-Denver deal have bubbled along since the opening night of the draft. It makes sense. The Broncos are going nowhere with Drew Lock and his league-leading interception total; Teddy Bridgewater will serve as a competent bridge piece to whoever the Broncos look at next, but he isn’t the long-term answer. Who the Broncos turn to in the medium to long-term is even more pressing given the state of their division. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs aren’t going anywhere for the next decade-plus. Ditto for Justin Herbert and the Chargers. In order to keep up, the Broncos need to take a big swing. They were unable or unwilling to move up in the draft to land one of this year’s top quarterback prospects, which leaves them with three possibilities: A, ride this season out and hope they can land a top quarterback prospect in next year’s draft; B, muddle along with Bridgewater in a state of quarterback purgatory; C, try to trade for an upgrade. There is no price that the Broncos should be unwilling to pay. Want a couple of first-rounders? Sure. Want us to tack a second-round pick on? Of course. Oh, you want Bradley Chubb, too? He’ll meet you at the airport. Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, the Raiders brain-trust, find themselves in a similar position to Denver: the backbone of a playoff team is there, but they’re lacking the spark at quarterback that can help close the gap to Kansas City (and help cover up some of their questionable personnel choices). Gruden is famously impatient, and he has long been the kind of vocal, strident advocate for all things Rodgers-ness that the quarterback appears to covet; the coach would certainly acquiesce to the quarterback’s wishes with his offensive scheme– Gruden, for all his bluster, is as malleable as any coach in the league in adjusting his offense to the skills of his quarterback. The Raiders have the picks and young talent needed to make a big offer. And if moving back to the West Coast is any part of Rodgers’ calculation, the Raiders represent his best opportunity. Carolina Panthers The Panthers are hovering. Owner David Tepper has been looking to make a big splash at quarterback ever since he purchased the team. Carolina sniffed around Deshaun Watson before his legal troubles surfaced and they were first in line to enquire about Russell Wilson when the quarterback’s sour relationship with the Seattle hierarchy came to light. Bringing in Sam Darnold while simultaneously paying Teddy Bridgewater to go away was a smart gamble. Maybe there’s something there in the former first-round pick. Maybe he was a victim or circumstances and poor coaching in New York. Maybe not. Maybe he stinks. But the Panthers are happy to bet on the potential of something, anything, rather than treading water with a known commodity like Bridgewater. But just because Carolina only recently added Darnold does mean that they’re wedded to him for any length of time. If Rodgers is available and interested, the Panthers will be at the front of the queue making their case – they could even include Darnold in such a deal if the Packers wanted to buy Jordan Love more time or wanted to flip him themselves for extra assets. Miami Dolphins In two short years, Chris Grier and Brian Flores, the head honchos in Miami, have orchestrated the model rebuild. They loaded up on draft picks, built to specific scheme requirements in free agency rather than chasing names, took longshots on some high-upside players, drafted their quarterback of the future once the right pieces were in place, brought that quarterback along slowly. The roster has shown complete buy-in. The team has developed a bunch of players from so-so prospects or bit-part pieces into the foundation of a side that has real division-title aspirations this coming season. Miami could continue on that normal evolutionary line. They could continue to take things linear: they can explain away Tua Tagovailoa’s early struggles as the natural issues of any rookie quarterback; they could give him time to grow; they can continue to build around Tagovailoa, slowly and methodically. Or they could try to microwave success right now; they could use some of their remaining assets from the rebuilding days and take a run at a deal for Rodgers. No matter how smart or calculated a team’s long-term plan is, it means little for a coach or GM if their hand-picked quarterback turns the ball over on third down. It’s short-sighted, but it’s the way the league works. Would the Dolphins hierarchy rather bet on the next six years (perhaps more) of Tagovailoa or the next three years (perhaps more) of Rodgers, particularly in a division that is in a state of some flux? New Orleans Saints For the first time in a long time, the Saints are in the market for a quarterback. Sean Payton has the kind of quarterback-friendly, it’s-more-of-a-partnership-than-coaching reputation that could lure Rodgers to the NFC South. The Saints have bad big trades before and are happy to be ruthless in pursuit of upgrading their roster: they will move on fan favourites, will dangle out superstars in trades, will finagle the salary cap in order to squeeze out an extra couple of dollars in order to add another player now to win today not caring about the future. In short, all of the things that Rodgers has issues with in Green Bay. At some point soon, the Saints will have to pay for all of the salary cap sins of the back-end of the Drew Brees era, but there’s enough flexibility in the new collective Bargaining Agreement for the team to kick that can down the road for another two years, opening up enough of a window that could tempt Rodgers to make the move. Green Bay Packers The Packers do not want to trade Rodgers. If anything, it would be preferable from the Packers’ perspective for Rodgers to retire than to move to another team, no matter the amount of compensation that would come back in exchange, which means that the quarterback is going to need to make a stink – publicly or privately – in order to get out of Green Bay. That offers three interesting questions that Rodgers must answer before he hits the ultimate I-want-out button (so far, all Rodgers-wants-out chatter has come via leaks, not his own mouth): Does he want to leave to improve his chances to win a Super Bowl somewhere else? Does he want to leave because he feels promises have been broken by those above him and he cannot continue to work with the team? Does he really just want to move because he’s tired of Wisconsin and wants to move back to the West Coast where he could potentially host Jeopardy!? It’s hard to argue that wherever he could land would be a demonstrable upgrade over the roster in Green Bay. The Packers went to the NFC championship game last year, their cap sheet is healthy, and they have the assets to add some immediate help if Rodgers commits to staying and lays out his own timeline. Rodgers could turn any franchise into a legitimate contender, such is his excellence and individual style, but it’s hard to make the argument that his Super Bowl odds would be improved by moving elsewhere. Jeopardy! Lurking over everything is the idea that Rodgers could retire to be the full-time host of Jeopardy!. The show’s show-runner has stated publicly that they’re looking for a host that can commit their full-time to the show rather than viewing it as a side hustle alongside their main role. Being an NFL quarterback would seem to disqualify Rodgers from contention. Rodgers doesn’t think so. “They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me 178 days to do Jeopardy!. So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work,” Rodgers told The Ringer. “It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job.” Rodgers wants Jeopardy! but does Jeopardy! want Rodgers? Rodgers did a good job as a game show host… for a professional quarterback. But some of the buzz surrounding his performance feels overblown. It’s similar to Blake Griffin’s rendezvous with stand-up comedy. Athletes are generally graded in such things on a curve, the commentariat writ large grateful to any athlete for showing a modicum of personality beyond a barrage of cliches. And so the praise pours in. He’s hilarious! He was amazing! Griffin wasn’t giving Dave Chappelle any sleepless nights. And while Jeopardy! is probably enjoying the bump of being in the Aaron Rodgers business, are they willing to turn a media juggernaut over to a rookie ahead of a TV professional? And if Jeopardy! demanded the host work full-time, would Rodgers be willing to retire in his prime, a year after winning the league’s MVP award, in order to host a game show? He might. Everybody’s priorities are different. But that would potentially put him on the hook for $31 million if the Packers looked to recuperate his signing bonus.

NBA defensive rankings: Thibs' Knicks No. 1, Warriors out to play

Yardbarker 14 May, 2021 - 06:05pm

Modern pro basketball features tons of up-and-down action, numerous possessions and tons of scoring, so it’s worth looking into how every team stacks up in our NBA defensive rankings.

Throughout the 2020-21 NBA season, we’ve been updating how teams stack up in defensive prowess. A variety of factors, key stats from NBA.com and personnel are all considered.

The Pelicans simply never put everything together at the right time. Over the last 15 games, they rank second in defensive rating, but our rankings are looking at the full body of work for the season. New Orleans has often disappointed, which is why the Pels are only 15th despite their recent surge on that end of the court.

Under the guidance of new head coach Billy Donovan, even though the Bulls aren’t winning enough down the stretch to make an exciting push for the playoffs, they’re quietly stringing together strong defensive performances. Over their last seven games, they’re No. 7 in defensive rating, just one slot behind the New York Knicks’ elite defense.

We’re really seeing what Washington can do when Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are firing on all cylinders. Not only does the Wizards’ superstar backcourt put immense pressure on opponents with such dynamic offense, but their effort on defense rubs off on the entire team. That end of the court is the reason Washington has shockingly surged into the playoffs.

Center Clint Capela is making his long-awaited impact on Atlanta. Capela used to be really the only rebounding threat for Houston. Now, he’s helped to transform one of the NBA’s worst defenses from last season into a respectable unit thanks in large part to his glass prowess, as he leads the league with 14.3 boards per contest.

Jamal Murray’s torn ACL was a huge setback, but between Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton, Denver has some serious wing defenders to field a competent unit. Part of the reason the Nuggets have rebounded from a rough start is their ability to keep teams off the offensive glass and not allowing second-chance points.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker are an excellent backcourt, center Deandre Ayton continues to make strides, Mikal Bridges is a strong defensive player and Jae Crowder also arrived in the shortened offseason from Miami to provide a key, quality wing defender the Suns previously lacked. All these elements combine to make Phoenix a legitimate contender in the West, but its defense has fallen off toward the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

With Jrue Holiday arriving in an offseason trade, reigning Defensive Player of the Year and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo locked into a long-term max contract and Khris Middleton still around, Milwaukee has an exceptional trio of defenders. That type of size and athleticism on the outside is uncommon. Plus, Brook Lopez can still get it done as a shot-blocker. The Bucks are a no-brainer top-10 defensive team, and they’ll show it more in the playoffs.

Jimmy Butler was hurt and dealing with COVID-19 early. The team was shorthanded in the NBA Finals and had a quick turnaround. However, Miami picked up the slack on the defensive end in tremendous fashion when Butler got healthy. As coach Erik Spoelstra has continued to sift through different personnel, the Heat had reestablished themselves as a defensive juggernaut. Their recent inconsistency knocks them down a ways, though.

The Grizzlies have stabilized a little north of the .500 mark thanks largely to playing hard on defense. Memphis could be bringing back the gritty glory of the Tony Allen and Marc Gasol heyday, as the squad ranks seventh in turnovers forced per contest and creates the most steals on average.

Coach Frank Vogel schemed up the defense that led to the Lakers’ NBA championship, and he’s gotten creative to keep L.A. among the league’s best defensive outfits despite long-term absences from superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With Davis back and The King soon on the way, Los Angeles should be fine in the postseason.

We were waiting to see just how good the Clippers can be on defense with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing together consistently. Kawhi in particular is fond of resting for load management, and defense tends to be more relaxed prior to the playoffs anyway. Down the stretch, though, the Clips have cranked it up, ranking third in defensive rating in the last 15 games.

Rudy Gobert is simply a fantastic interior defender. Veteran point guard Mike Conley is also showing signs of his prime form from his Memphis Grizzlies heyday, and he is among the more underrated stoppers in the game. Coach Quin Snyder just knows how to get the Jazz in tune as a functioning unit. They’re essentially the Celtics of the West, but better, especially this season.

Draymond Green almost single-handedly held the Dubs up early. The Warriors had struggled without all their pieces available. Stephen Curry has been counted on to light it up every night for the Dubs to even have a chance, but suddenly, everything’s clicking defensively. Golden State ranks No. 1 in defensive rating over the last 15 contests.

The duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons alone makes Philadelphia a seriously stout defense. The Sixers are second in defensive rating, second in steals per game and second in average blocks. Tobias Harris is a versatile forward who can guard in the paint and on the wing as well, so in this edition of NBA defensive rankings, Philly earns its No. 2 spot.

Tom Thibodeau was always going to bring defense to the Big Apple. The question was simply how soon it would start working, and it appears New York’s young core is already adapting Thibodeau’s system and seeing it click. The Knicks are top-four in defensive rating and lead the NBA in field-goal defense (44.1%).

No NBA Defensive Rankings would be complete with a look at the prospective Defensive Player of the Year. Here’s a quick top five:

3. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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