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The Starting 5 | Never underestimate the Warriors’ defense

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and guard Klay Thompson (11) celebrate during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, April 16, 2017. The Warriors won 121-109. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet

1. “Warriors make Charles Barkley look foolish again with superb defense” – Kevin Jones of KNBR

It’s frustrating to see pundits cling to myths that have been proven wrong over and over again. Charles Barkley is particularly stubborn, as he still thinks the Warriors aren’t a good defensive team (Golden State has ranked in the top five in defensive efficiency for four straight seasons).

Barkley said that at halftime of the Warriors’ blowout of the Blazers on Wednesday. Golden State then proceeded to allow just 35 second-half points, leading to a 29-point blowout. Jones elaborates on just how wrong the retired superstar is on the Dubs’ defense.

2. “Oklahoma City Thunder: Five observations in 115-111 game two loss to Houston Rockets” – Joshua Broom of Welcome to Loud City

Sometimes I get lazy as an NBA watcher and merely track the general flow of the game. I can miss things like in-game adjustments made by coaches and players, how well certain players are defending (especially off the ball) or one team outplaying another at a certain position or in a certain facet of the game.

If you watched Game 2 of the Rockets-Thunder series lazily, Broom will help fill in the cracks with this piece, especially from OKC’s side.

3. “Takeaways from Wizards’ Game 2 Win Over Atlanta Hawks Behind John Wall’s Big Night” – J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic

As he was all season, Wall was the Wizards’ rock on Wednesday night. He and his 32 points and nine assists were especially key in a game where Washington suffered foul trouble and had to adjust its rotations significantly.

Michael takes you through the very NBA TV-ish game between the Hawks and Wizards. Atlanta will need to make some more adjustments at home in Game 3 to shift the momentum of this series.

4. “The NBA Players Who Are Too Busy Complaining To Get Back On D” – Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight

I’ve always wanted to see some data on which players are the worst at getting back on defense. Herring has some good numbers here on the subject, focusing specifically on players who like to complain after a play has ended on their offensive end.

Herring acknowledges some quotes by ESPN announcers Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson that I couldn’t help but agree with. Players have been very busy pleading their cases early on in this year’s postseason, and I wish they would just chill.

A better time for players to explain their cases is during a break in the action, after they’ve taken time to calm down and when their insistence won’t hurt their team’s defense.

5. “Memphis players pay for Coach David Fizdale’s $30,000 fine, after his legendary ‘data’ rant” – Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie

Speaking of complaining about refereeing, NBA fans will never forget Fizdale’s post-Game 2 rant that included epic quotes “they not gonna rook us” and “take that for data.” He was obviously very upset about the officiating in his Grizzlies’ contest against the Spurs.

Memphis players are doing the right thing to cover the tab on Fizdale’s diatribe. Dwyer has details surrounding this fascinating situation, which has helped spice up a boring series.

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