Clippers’ offense shines, but defense needs polishing

Utah center Jeff Withey battles with Clippers forward Marreese Speights after grabbing a rebound during an Oct. 10 preseason game.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

The Clippers’ efficient offense can be sexy and easy on the eyes, providing pleasing views that include Chris Paul lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and beautiful three-pointers from J.J. Redick.

What’s not so sexy and easy on the eyes is playing defense — locking down an opponent and digging in to get stops.

So while the Clippers have spent some extra time during training camp installing more wrinkles to their already smooth offense, Jordan won’t let his teammates forget about the importance of defense.


“I’m not worried about our offense at all,” Jordan said before Wednesday’s practice. “We’re a good offensive team. We just need to jell a little bit. We’re getting a lot of great shots and some of them just aren’t falling [in exhibition games]. But like I said, we ultimately need to focus on us getting stops and rebounding the basketball.”

The Clippers consistently have had one of the NBA’s best-run offenses.

They were ranked sixth last season in offensive efficiency [106.5], even with Griffin, their primary weapon, missing 41 games because of injuries [torn left quadriceps, broken right hand]. Griffin also missed four games because of a suspension and two games for rest.

In the 2014-15 season, the Clippers were tops in offensive efficiency [109.8] and third in the 2013-14 season [109.4].

“We’ve been a really good offensive team,” Jordan said. “Scoring options – we’ve got a lot of guys who can fill it up. Defensively, we’ve got to be better.”

Now, it’s not like the Clippers were bums on defense last season.

They were tied for fourth in defensive efficiency [100.9] during the 2015-16 season and ranked seventh in points allowed [100.2].

It’s defense that is Jordan’s calling card and it’s what allowed him sign a four-year, $87.7 million deal last year.


Being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team the past two seasons is why Jordan speaks so fervently about the subject.

“I like that. You’ve got to remember what you do great,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said about Jordan. “The reason you know DJ’s name is because he’s one of the best defensive players in the world. Yeah, we want everybody to get better at stuff, but I think people make the mistake they forget what they do. DJ is the best or one of the best defenders in the league. He can never forget that….That’s his job. He should always think about that.”

Pierce to retire a Celtic

Clippers forward Paul Pierce, who announced last month that he will retire after playing his 19th season, told SiriusXM NBA Radio on Wednesday that he will sign with the Boston Celtics next summer and retire with them.

Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with the Celtics, winning an NBA championship in 2008 and being named the Finals’ most valuable player.

Rivers had said in August that he and Danny Ainge, Boston’s vice president of basketball operations, had both agreed that Pierce should retire with the Celtics.



The Clippers waived forward Dorell Wright and guard Xavier Munford. The Clippers have 15 players on their roster now.

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner