The old adage goes that defense wins championships, and it has been proven right over and over again in NBA history. This season sets up to be no different, as three of the four remaining teams in these playoffs ranked in the top 4 in defensive rating, with the only exception being the Mavericks were pretty good too, as they ranked seventh. The Celtics had the #1 defense followed by the Warriors and the Heat ranked fourth.
The only ones among the top 4 to not make it were the Phoenix Suns who were eliminated in stunning fashion by those Mavericks, or else we'd have the top 4 defensive teams as our last one's standings.
It was little surprise that these teams were well represented when the NBA announced its All-Defense teams today, with Celtics star and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart headlining the first team:
2021-22 NBA All-Defensive teams:
First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart
Second team: Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams III
Along with him were the two runner-ups for the award in Mikal Bridges and Rudy Gobert, to go with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaren Jackson Jr. They all were incredible on defense all season and deserve the plaudits coming their way.
The second team was led by Draymond Green, who has anchored that Warriors defense to go along with regulars like Jrue Holiday and Bam Adebayo. Matisse Thybulle may have dealt with some controversy regarding the vaccines, but he enjoyed another good campaign on defense for the Sixers while Robert Williams has been a revelation for the Celtics.