Numbers are big on both sides for Clippers

ORLANDO, Fla. — It's not hard for the Clippers to score points.

And it hasn't been tough for them to give up points, either.

Going into Tuesday night's games, the Clippers led the NBA in scoring, averaging 119 points a game. But they also allow the most points, 112.5 per game.

The Clippers are shooting 50.3% from the field, tied with Miami and Golden State for the best shooting mark in the league. But the Clippers are allowing opponents to make 48.2% of their shots, second-highest in the league, and opponents are making 42.4% of their three-pointers, tied for the third-highest.

"We haven't held a team under 100 in four games, and I promise our defense is better than it looks," Chris Paul said. "I think what has to be better is our transition defense. It's a process, although it's nice to learn through wins."

During the exhibition season, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said the team's defense was ahead of the offense.

"I was delusional, clearly," Rivers joked. "It was at the time. And then it really flipped."

Rivers maintained that his team is playing good defense.

"It's what's getting us the leads," he said. "Then we break down. Right now, it seems like when we get that lead, we kind of break down and forget our focus. We have to be a better defensive team than we are and we have to continue to play the offense."

Can the Clippers continue to thrive at this high-octane pace?

"It's up-tempo, clearly. But it's not like we're just running," Rivers said, noting the Clippers are scoring on pick-and-rolls, by moving the basketball from side to side, setting screens to free shooters and keeping the floor spaced.

"It's good because you can run that slow or fast," Rivers said. "And that's preparation for later, because you're not going to get all these breaks."

Rivers added: "I think if we continue to stay in our spacing and run our continuity, we should be able to score every night. And I know our defense is going to come. You can see it in spurts."

On the road

Rivers called the Clippers' schedule of three road games over four days a "hard trip."

It starts Wednesday night in Orlando, then the Clippers go to Miami to play the two-time NBA champion Heat on Thursday and they finish at Houston on Saturday.

"Orlando is playing great. They beat Brooklyn and New Orleans back-to-back," Rivers said. "Miami is Miami and Houston is Houston. So it's a hard trip. But that's the way they're all going to be."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World