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Defending the NBA's Lack of Defense with an All-Star Offense

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Defending the NBA's Lack of Defense with an All-Star Offense
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Unfortunately, this article comes a few days late because I had to wait for an application response, but here goes.

For years, I have been a Celtics fan, and even though I’ve followed them since Rick Pitino left Kentucky to take the realms, I will take blame for really getting involved after the real Big Three got together to win a title in 2008. 

Add Rajon Rondo, one of the most electrifying all-around players (minus the jump shot) in the game today, and you’ve got a smorgasboard of talent in both offense and defense.

Defense will no doubt help carry the Celtics to another NBA Finals in 2011, but offense is what gets the crowd rowdy.  Just take a look at Sunday night’s All Star game in Los Angeles. 

Anybody who has a hint of being an NBA fan has seen a big-time matchup in the Staples Center.  When Boston comes to town, that place is loud.  Jack Nicholson is hyped and Lou Adler is focused behind those goofy hats, crossed arms and big shades. 

You can easily make out “Bullllsh#@!” at the TD Gardens when Celtics fans are upset.

Pre-taking-his-talents-to-South-Beach, the Quicken Loans Arena was a site of crazed fans who loved watching one of the best—and cockiest—players to ever play the game

Sunday night proved the disinterest of a mixed crowd of fans and their insistence on more defense in the NBA.  At moments, the lack of noise beckoned the question, “Why do fans complain about the lack of defense in the NBA?”

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You’ll hear it all the time, “I can’t stand the NBA because there’s no defense.”  On the contrary, the lack of defense in an All-Star game is what creates excitement and implements enthusiasm for the game. 

The league and fans has gathered the best-of-the-best and put them together for an extra long highlight reel.  How do you expect defense in a situation where all you see is offense?

However, that’s not the problem.  Why, especially in non-market cities, do fans complain about a lack of defense?

The NBA, Charles Barkley stated Sunday night, is all about conservation and staying in the game.

Most teams only rotate six or seven players with some teams going all the way down to that eighth man.  In other words, most games see about 66 percent of the players get action. 

There are eight more minutes and consistently better scorers than the college game.  The league made up for this by providing one more foul for each player.

Stan Van Gundy isn’t taking chances with Dwight Howard and his sixth foul when he records his fifth early in the second half.  Furthermore, Doc Rivers isn’t letting Kevin Garnett see much time with three fouls in the first half. 

It’s all about conservation.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Garnett frustrates many players with his nagging defensive skills

Oh, Garnett played eight minutes Sunday night in an attempt to keep those aging legs healthy.

On the other hand, how hyped up did the crowd get after Chris Bosh’s put-back dunk on a Ray Allen miss. 

Imagine the television screen right now.  One half of the court is visible, Ray Allen just missed another shot and you expect one of the three West players standing around the basket to wrap up an easy rebound and move on to the other side of the court.  Nope! 

Out of nowhere, a forceful scream, a high-flying Bosh and a left handed rim-rattler that brought that deathly crowd to life. 

Moments later, the crowd erupted again to a Blake Griffin alley-oop where he almost broke his nose on the rim.  Like time and time again, he had so much air that he literally had to duck his head to miss the rim.

Did anybody see Kevin Durant’s dunk on Lebron James?  I did and it got me excited.

Did anybody see how quick Lebron James came right back down the court only to be fouled halfway through what could have been a basket-shaking dunk?  I did and all I said, “Aww, that might have been nasty.”

Even Steve Levy from ESPN commented on Sportscenter about how he’s not a fan of the defense-ridden NFL Pro Bowl, but thought Sunday’s All Star game was great as long as you weren’t expecting defense.

Barkley confirmed that Griffin is going to be an even more exceptional player as soon as he learns how to play the game. 

Who gets to the NBA without knowing how to play basketball?

Barkley went even further saying if he could learn how to stop playing 100 percent all the time and slow that down to 50 and possibly even 35 percent at times, then he’s got a long and healthy career ahead of him.

Could you imagine telling Ray Lewis to slow down his linebacking skills to about 35 percent on Sundays?  Better yet, tell him to play about 50 percent at times on Monday Night Football.  I’m not sure if he’d laugh at you or hit you with 125 percent power.

This isn’t the same sport.

Before the game, Kobe Bryant even mentioned that his legs can’t handle all the drives to the basket anymore.  Conservation.

By the way, he had plenty of drives Sunday night and he’s 32-years-old.

I ask those fans out there, do you really want to see that much defense?

Yes it is exciting to see the Celtics and Miami Heat get after it down below; however, that’s only when the refs are letting them play and that usually doesn’t happen too often during the regular season.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins rejects Dwyane Wade

A lot of people mention that defense picks up during the playoffs.  First off, it’s the playoffs.  You lose and you’re out so you better put your best effort out there.

Additionally, without any statistics to prove this, the refs noticeably allow the players to play tougher in the paint during the playoffs.  That’s what makes the playoffs so exciting.

When you have to get through 82 games first, then conservation is key to staying healthy. 

Save your technicals, save your legs, get more minutes and allow the fantastic scorers out there to do what they do best.  Score!

When people who don’t follow the NBA figure this concept out, then they won’t be baffled as to why the energy level between the middle of second quarter is completely less than the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Those same people will begin to appreciate Bryant still being able to shake-and-bake to the hole. 

They will appreciate James putting up a triple-double in a collection of this years best players. 

They will appreciate watching Allen missing easy threes then laughing it off afterwards. 

Even more, they will appreciate skinny Durant tomahawking a dunk around the god-like-bodied James.

Defense is what helps the Celtics to a 3-0 record against the Heat this year.

Offense is what gets the crowd going, especially in a mixed crowd like Sunday night.

Let’s start to appreciate what the best athletes in the world can produce for the NBA. 

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