Clippers can't figure out why they're struggling on defense

Clippers can't figure out why they're struggling on defense
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, center, tangles with San Antonio Spurs' Pau Gasol, left, and Danny Green during the first half on Tuesday. (Darren Abate / Associated Press)

On a team filled with solid to excellent defenders, the Clippers inexplicably have recently shown very little resistance.

As a result, they are mired in a three-game losing streak and their uneven defense is the primary root of their problems.


It's hard to fathom that a Clippers team with a first-team All-NBA defender in point guard Patrick Beverley and a third-team selection in center DeAndre Jordan has been out of sorts on defense.

And it's not as if Austin Rivers can't defend or that Blake Griffin is not athletic enough to guard.

They all know this current way of playing defense is not acceptable, especially when the Clippers have given up 112.3 points a game during the losing streak.

"We should be one, two, three, four, five — a top-five defensive team, without a doubt," Rivers said. "So the fact that teams are hanging up these amount of points on us, we have to figure out whatever we have to figure out. But it's getting ridiculous.

"We're going to figure it out and we're going to get back to where we need to get, because if we do this, we're not going to win games. You're just not going to win. You can't win if you're scoring 115 and you're still losing. That means the defense ain't right. We've got to do something to change that."

The Clippers have gone from first to 19th in defensive efficiency.

They are leaking everywhere, but perhaps no place more than protecting the three-point line, which had been a point of emphasis when the season began.

In the three straight losses, teams have averaged making 44.8% from the three-point line against the Clippers.

"We've got to get more consistent on defense," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We're going to get two days of practice coming up and we're going to work on it."

Ballmer supports standing for anthem

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said Wednesday on Fox Business Network that he supports the NBA rules that require all its players to stand for the national anthem.

But Ballmer also said he respects professional athletes' rights to use their platform to speak out about social issues.

When his team played several exhibitions, the Clippers locked arms in solidarity during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." But since then, they have all stood at attention during the regular-season games.

"In this case, the NBA rules are quite clear about players needing to stand for the national anthem," Ballmer said. "I support those rules and yet I think it is a good thing for our players to express themselves and the issues they think are important, because athletes do have a voice that they can use to comment and highlight important social issues. I certainly would respect players doing that stuff."


Twitter: @BA_Turner