But if, in their 108-78 win over Cleveland Lite, the Clippers were able to plant a seed from which some better defense can sprout, then plenty of good will have come from it.
"I liked our defensive spirit and our talk," forward Blake Griffin said. "Even if we didn't get a stop, I thought our talk was great. I could hear who the low-man was every time. Guys were running guys off the corner three, running the right guys off the line. The next guy was there. Our trust was high."
This was in stark contrast to the previous game’s assessment by point guard
An inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent defense has been the primary culprit in funk in which the Clippers lost eight of 14 games after the All-Star break.
Even with Saturday's Cavaliers clampdown, the Clippers entered Monday having allowed 110.1 points per 100 possessions in those 14 games, the seventh-worst defensive efficiency rating in the league.
But their communication and effort improved against Cleveland, and the Clippers hoped to carry that momentum into the homestretch of the season.
"Offense will come and go, but defense is something that you hang your hat on, that is where you build your trust as a team," Paul said. "If we can learn to play defense nightly, we always give ourselves a chance."
But Clippers Coach
"No, I watch as a coach," Rivers said.
Paul, the Clippers star, is one of Anthony’s best friends, and former Knicks coach
"You always want to make a move to improve your team, but as I've said thousand times, there was really no good offer out there," Rivers said. "I read all the speculation, but if some of those trades that you guys were all proposing were true, we would have done all of them. … Unfortunately, both teams didn't agree on those trades, and that was the issue."