The Clippers opened their second-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder well, taking a 122-105 road victory.
Since that win, the Clippers have lost two consecutive games, struggling primarily on the defensive end against the high-powered Thunder offense.
While the Clippers are one of the regular season’s top scoring teams, they’re finding it a true challenge to outgun Oklahoma City.
In the Clippers’ lone win they held the Thunder to 45.9% shooting from the field while forcing 18 turnovers.
Oklahoma City improved to 112 points in a Game 2 victory, on 50.6% shooting, despite 16 turnovers while holding the Clippers to 101 points.
The defensive trend continued in an unfavorable direction for the Clippers on Friday, as they fell behind in the series, two games to one. The Thunder climbed to 118 points on 55.7% shooting with 14 turnovers.
“Defensively, if somebody is scoring 118 points, we obviously have to play better defense and I have to coach defense better,” said Coach Doc Rivers after the Game 3 loss on Friday.
The Clippers scored 112 in the losing effort.
In each successive game, Oklahoma City has scored more points, on a higher shooting percentage while reducing its turnovers.
“We didn’t get stops when we needed to,” said Clippers point guard Chris Paul. “We never really made them feel us.”
The Clippers need to buck the trend to have any hope of advancing to the Western Conference finals.