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Do NBA Teams Really Play Better Defense in the Playoffs?

Throughout the regular season, NBA highlights are dominated by dunks, buzzer-beaters and the obligatory JaVale McGee “Bonehead Play of the Day.”

Sometimes a ferocious rejection gets sprinkled in, but for the most part, highlights focus on offense. Do you remember the last time Sportscenter’s Top 10 included a fundamentally sound boxout or some solid help defense? I didn’t think so.

While offense rules the regular season, the perception among fans is that once the playoffs begin, teams turn up the defensive pressure. We’ve all heard it before, defense wins championships, right?

But is that perception a reality? We looked back in our archives to answer the question, Do NBA teams really clamp down defensively once the Larry O’Brien Trophy is within reach?

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