DeAndre Jordan sparks Clippers’ improving defense
Center DeAndre Jordan has become the Clippers’ defensive leader.
And it’s not all about his statistics, impressive though they may be. Jordan also makes sure he communicates to teammates, and Clippers Coach Doc Rivers says he takes it “personal” when opponents score against the Clippers.
Jordan was ranked fourth in the NBA in blocked shots before Sunday night’s game against Minnesota, averaging 2.21 per game. He was third in the league in rebounding, averaging 13.0 per game.
“It’s funny, he’s mad the most on defense now, which I love because he takes it so personal when anybody scores,” Rivers said. “I thought early in the year he took it personal when his guy scored. Now he’s taking it personal if a guy is making a three on the opposite side of the floor.
“And that’s great. That’s what you need, is to take scoring personal, and I think our guys are starting to do that.”
There was a time early in the season when the Clippers were ranked last in defense in the NBA, giving up more than 100 points per game.
But lately they’ve become one of the league’s better defensive teams. They had allowed 98.5 points per game before Sunday, 10th-best in the NBA. The also ranked ninth in opponent field-goal percentage (44.1) and first in opponent three-point percentage (32.2%).
“I do like the trend. I think we’ve been trending that way for a while defensively,” Rivers said. “And it’s nice, because my belief is that you can play defense every night. Offense you can try to play every night, but it may not work out for you. You can miss open shots and just have a bad night. But your defense should always be there, at least the effort.”
The Clippers had held their last four opponents under 100 points before Sunday.
“I think we’ve had the effort, in my opinion, all year,” Rivers said. “We just weren’t in the right places all year and now we’re starting to get to the right places, the right spaces and our talk defensively has been phenomenal. Our weak-side defense is improving.”
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