Clippers’ defense remains their concern

Clippers’ defense remains their concern
Blake Griffin is averaging 23 points with 10.8 rebounds per game for the Clippers, who open a three game homestand Saturday where they will face the Sacramento Kings followed by the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers again pointed to their inconsistent defense as they reflected on their 105-91 loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Having the second-best offense (107.3 points per game) in the NBA didn’t save the Clippers on Thursday because their attack was sputtering too. They needed their defense to get stops, but that didn’t happen enough.


“We show moments of being good, of really looking like we all have it down and we’re always there on rotations,” Blake Griffin said. “But we have lapses. The lapses we have, we need to start to spread those out so eventually it’s just a mess-up here and there.

“The positive thing is we’re getting better. But we’re not there yet.”


From the first day of training camp, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has preached defense, saying that it can make up the gap on those nights when the offense struggles, according to Griffin.

“We know if we’re not going to make shots, we have to able to rely on our defense,” Griffin said.

The Clippers are giving up 105.1 points per game, the third highest in the NBA. They have allowed at least 100 points in four of their five losses.

“Our defense, we’re trying to get better,” point guard Chris Paul said. “We’re trying to get our offense better. We got to understand that on some nights, our offense is going to have one plan and the other nights it’s going to be different. So we always have to be good on defense. We’re getting there.”


Less talk

Rivers let his players know they should let the officials alone during games.

If anything needs to be said to the referees, Rivers has told his players that he’ll do the talking, the politicking for calls.

“Yeah, I like that, because it gives me a chance not to,” Paul said.


Paul has been notorious for talking to the officials over his eight-year career.

“I don’t talk to the officials no more,” Paul said. “I don’t even go to the captain’s meeting no more. I let Blake and DJ [DeAndre Jordan] do it. I’m trying to cut my dialogue down.”


The Clippers didn’t practice Friday after returning home from Oklahoma City.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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