The Clippers Ugly Defense

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pageC4
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As a season ticket holder I am very excited about this year. Aside from a disastrous opening night the Clippers have performed well and logged victories in the following three games, two of whom come from the Western Conference's elite. After the game against the Lakers it seems as if all starters are finally gelling, and we even see some huge contributions from guys that were not doing well in the preseason.

However, my fear is the current trend of our defense, and it has gathered the attention of others as well. I hope it is something that is easily corrected, and the season is young so it is possible to change this trend.

116 to the Lakers,115 to Golden State,101 to Sacramento, and 118 to Houston.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=993242 ... api_public

jarca
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If it wasn't for Robert Horry's cheap shot the suns would have gone to the finals. It's gonna be about key defensive stops in the playoff and our starting five is capable of doing that

ClipsGForce
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I am not worry about it. It's a progress to be a defensive juggernaut. Everyone is trying to get a feel from each other.

Voyeur
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Does anyone have defensive stats for the starters compared to the bench?

CP3Best
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I think it is due to the fact our bench isn't as good as last year. We have no defensive big man, Barnes has been playing like crap, Jamaal was never called to play defense, and Mullens doesn't know the definition of the word. Only one who can play some D is Hollins, but he still has his issues with fouls.

With our starting group I observed some great off ball defense by DUdley, dude was knocking passes out of there left and right. He gets some good steals. I think Blake is the one who has to step his defense up, which he has done IMO in the past 2 games, getting rebounds and more.

Clippersfan86
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Bench+tempo is mostly killing us so far. The starters D hasn't been the best but I'd say at worst it's 20th best so far which isn't terrible for a new system. Minute our bench comes in we get CREAMED.

namzug
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The NBA website has some line up stats, but I think it's to early too really get anything from them. Looking at plus/minus stat we show up twice in the top 25 line ups but it's 20 and 23. I think the line up with Jamal at the 3 is 20 and the line up with Matt is at 23, but overall I think the numbers will be skewed for this month. Some of these line ups have played less than ten minutes together, I think we will have to wait to really be able to dive into the line up stats.

Voyeur
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Doc and CP3 also stated a lot of it is bad transition defense. Our halfcourt D is not as bad (at least from the starters) as it looks in the final score.

Agent0
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Didn't they have a Joe Johnson injury one year also? Or was that the same year?

Anyways, yes, if your offense is THAT good, then you don't need to be the Indiana Pacers on defense to win, but obviously you also can't be the Charlotte Bobcats on defense and win.

I think if this team can stay in the top 10, and go into the post-season as an above average defense (9-12 range) as opposed to last season where they went to the post-season as a bad defense, then it should be a good prognosis for the playoffs.

The bench is struggling though, but Barnes hasn't been up to par yet, and Collison isn't this bad. I remember we had a bit of a conversation about bench being offensive vs bench being defensive. Here's the thing about the bench's strength being defensive. Defense can be strong and consistent against anyone and everyone. Offense, especially from a bench doesn't have that same reliability.

The reliability from the bench last year was because their strength was defense, not offense, so they could always defend even if they could hardly score, the opposition couldn't score any more, and they were able to match-up against starting units because they were defending.

Heediot
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I think we give up 100ppg this year.

gman
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What defense are you guys talking about?

Voyeur
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I think we saw 2 defenses against Orlando. First half was worse than the defense we had been playing, frankly. The second half was probably the best defense we've played so far.

Maybe this loss is just what we need to truly understand how important it is we step up our defense. Unfortunately, I don't know how much it'll matter if our bench keeps sucking THIS badly.

CP3Heliflopter
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Second half we did fairly good defensively. We did good enough that we are now ranked 29th defensively instead of 30th! Now lets hope we don't go back to being ranked 30 after the Heat are through with us. lol

CP3Best
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Actually we didn't play that good defense in the 2nd half. Our offense just started going. Remember that WIDE open 3 we gave them to take a 3pt lead?

CP3Heliflopter
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It was good relative to that poor excuse for defense we played so far this season. lol

ekker3
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Defense wins championships (except if you're the clippers, where you win championships on paper...in the preseason)

ekker3
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the truth is, this team is jacking up so many outside jumpers, especially when doc has BG hanging out by the elbow, that there's rarely anyone in decent rebounding position (outside jumpers = more bricks). bad rebounding position leads to opposition fast break points. clippers inbound the ball and the cycle continues.

its phoenix suns basketball. alvin gentry knows it. live by the 3, die by the 3.

tense2
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Hey...we did hold them under 100. That's a start in the right direction. Smile

06clippersfan
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I just read on twitter that the starters are defending at a top 10 level giving up 97 points per game, but as a team they are giving up 108.4 points per game.

I feel we are going to keep losing games until we do something with the bench. They are horrible at defending

Voyeur
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It kinda felt like our starters were defending better than has been suggested. Thanks for the info.

Man, I wish we could solve this riddle. I still say we have to leave either Paul or Blake on the court at all times...possibly JJ. For continuity, if nothing else.

tense2
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Our bench is only playing 14.1 minutes a game so far, down 50% from last years 21.1 minutes. Not sure how much more minutes the starter's need to play, lol.

Voyeur
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^

Fine. Looks like we have only one other alternative....

...WE MUST BUILD A CLONING MACHINE!

ClipsGForce
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We'll be fine in the end of the season. Only 6 games, and under Doc system, it will take some time to put a proficient defensive team. They are trying to get a feel from one and another.

Worry about the bench through, I feel like they can be a decent defensive unit, but BJ Mullens defense is left to be desire.

Agent0
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8th in ORB% means Clippers are in the upper tier of teams in offensive rebounding

47.8% FG, 3rd in the league means there are less offensive rebounds to grab when you make so many shots

Long jumpers lead to a higher percentage of long rebounds (doesn't mean all) which lead to as many more opposition transition opportunities as they do more offensive rebounds for the team shooting, so it is a bit of a cop out to blame shooting jumpers on any rebounding issue. Not to mention that last seasons team was a team that shot jumpers also.

DJ is second in the league in offensive rebounds per game at 4.7 (15.0%). The leader is Kanter at 5.8 (17.2%)

Clippers as a team are 20th in the league in DRB% at 73.3% which has nothing to do with how far or close to the basket Clippers players are on offense.

Nothing supports offensive rebounding being an issue or limiting factor, and actually all point the opposite direction. So any rebounding problem is clearly on defense not on offense.

Interesting stat:

Paul and Jordan are tied for 3rd in the league in fouls per game at 4.2 each per game

tense2
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^Fouling has been a nemesis for a least the last 2 years now.

FightOnRon
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2 decades

tense2
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^Actually Ron, the last 3 years we've been near the bottom in that category. Before that we've been near the top or in the middle.

Agent0
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I know huh? Just can't shake it. It was awful and a big part of the downfall vs Memphis, guess the guys need better discipline with the hands

pageC4
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Speaking of the Clippers defensive woes...

Clippers follow Rivers' defensive directive

By MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange 12 hours ago

HOUSTON -- Having spent a considerable portion of his pregame conference with the media dismissing the notion of teams needing to establish an identity this early in the season, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers seemed particularly pleased that his team used defense -- his personal calling card -- as the impetus for their second-half comeback.

The Clippers shackled the high-scoring Houston Rockets during one critical stretch late in the third quarter and built upon that momentum in the fourth for a 107-94 victory on Saturday night at Toyota Center.

By holding the Rockets (4-3) scoreless in the final 5:02 of the third quarter, the Clippers (4-3) erased a 71-60 deficit and wrangled control of the game. Houston ended the drought when forward Dwight Howard converted an offensive rebound into a second-chance basket with 10:12 left, but by that stage the Clippers had worked an 18-point turnaround.

"Your defense won the game for you. That's what won the game," Rivers said. "The whole second half (39) points (allowed) against a terrific offensive team, and we had all kinds of strange lineups with foul trouble."

After closing the third quarter with a tip-in at the buzzer before adding a three-point play early in the fourth, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford drilled two 3-pointers that kept the Rockets at arm's length.

Crawford finished with 16 points off the bench, including an open trey with 3:45 remaining to lift the Clippers (4-3) to a 95-85 lead. He complemented strong performances from Clippers forward Blake Griffin (22 points) and guard Chris Paul (14 points and 13 assists).

Forward Chandler Parsons led the Rockets (4-3) with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Howard added 21 points and eight rebounds. But once they lost the lead, the Rockets seemingly lost their rhythm, producing nearly as many second-half turnovers (11) as field goals (13).

"We missed some shots and we started doubting it and we stopped taking some shots that we needed to take," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "Then we got a lot of turnovers and then we just got really passive. We just got nothing going from that point on."

The Clippers took advantage of another sluggish Houston start, grabbing an 18-8 lead before the Rockets went small to positive results.

With forward Omri Casspi replacing center Omer Asik, the Rockets' offense caught fire and closed the first quarter with an 18-4 run. Howard was integral to that rally with several rim assaults sandwiched around a Casspi 3-pointer, producing 10 first-quarter points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.

The Rockets' eruption continued in the second quarter with guard Patrick Beverley (19 points plus a career-high four steals) providing the spark. Beverley had nine points in the quarter and seemed to take his matchup with Paul personally, engaging in several feisty exchanges, something the Rockets lacked when Beverley was injured while Paul torched Houston last weekend during their matchup in Los Angeles.

But momentum swung when Beverley picked up his fourth foul and exited with 6:16 left in the third and the Rockets leading 67-57. The Clippers' ratcheted up the aggression and forced five turnovers after Beverley departed, including four by his replacement, Jeremy Lin.

Both teams noticed a shift in attitudes during the Clippers' 18-0 run. How those attitudes influenced the result was a matter of perspective.

"We had to really battle through that, battle through adversity," Lin said. "When times get tough, we have to get closer and not grow further apart. That's all part of the process, the building process."

Paul said, "We showed up to the fight late, which we can't do. They were a little bit grittier, a little bit scrappier than us. Then we finally said enough is enough and found a way to come out with the win."

NOTES: After initially expressing concern over his ability to play through a bothersome left foot bruise, Rockets G James Harden took his customary place in the starting lineup. ... The Clippers have struggled with consistency on offense after a three-game winning streak in which they averaged 124.3 points per game with a 90-point outing in a loss to Orlando on Wednesday. When the Clippers are good offensively, they're brilliant. But is that proficiency sustainable? "I don't know if 130 is sustainable, so no would be the answer," Rivers said. "But I do think this team has an ability to explode offensively, there's no doubt about that." ... Clippers F Jared Dudley continues to play through right knee tendinitis, but the situation isn't ideal. "He's good to go, he's just not healthy," Rivers said of Dudley.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/clippers-r ... --nba.html

Voyeur
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2 players are conspicuously absent from this writer's comment. Hmmm

Agent0
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For some consolation:

Miami:

Drtg: 108.2 , 28th

Opponent eFG%: .527, 26th

LA Clippers:

Drtg: 108.9, 29th

Opponent eFG%: .535, 29th

We're just trying to keep up with the champions Wink

The defensive rating vs the Rockets was 99.1

Is it a coincidence that Mullens played 1:36 and Hollins played 0 minutes in the game where the team was great on defense? I don't know, but I'm just going to put that in your heads.

elton_sucks42
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I cringe each time mullens and Hollins check into the game.

ClipperDB
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I cringe each time I see mullens and Hollins on the bench.

Agent0
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Defense still has some issues, I think a big one is FG% given up at the rim, but here's a positive:

10th in opponent 3PT%, 35.0%

The league average is 36.2%, so this team is so far an above average 3PT defending team.

CapsNClips
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35% is impressive once you take into account that we've played GSW, MIA, MIN, HOU(twice), and OKC(twice)

CP3Heliflopter
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Now if only our interior defense wasn't putrid. Sad

CapsNClips
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Yep, it's pretty awful at times. I notice it's at its worst when one of our bigs is in foul trouble. When most players are in foul trouble they ease off a little bit, but it seems when Blake and DJ are in foul trouble they just give up completely.

One of the hardest things defenders have to do is play with fouls. Blake and DJ haven't grasped that yet.

Also, having Mullens protecting the paint for us is not helping. It seems Jamison was light years ahead of Mullens on defense and offense. Hopefully Jamison makes a difference.

Agent0
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One adjustment I would like to see is to not use the hard hedge with Jordan, but instead to play ICE on the pick and roll.

The current Clippers pick and roll defense has the big man hedging hard and then recovering. This is good if your bigs are very mobile, if not, it can cause trouble.

Jordan is mobile in a straight line, but he struggles with lateral movement.

An adjustment I would like to see is what Indiana does. They run the hedge with the PF's who can hedge and recover, but with Hibbert, they run ICE. They have the on ball defender fight over the screen, and Hibbert sits back cause he isn't mobile enough to be hedging on screens.

DJ is more mobile, but this gives your big a better full-court view of the action and allows him to be able to help better. I remember in the article talking about two sides of Jordan's defense, it said that he's still struggling with the hedge and recover.

If you play the defense where he stays back, he can then give up shots between 15-inside 3PT line, which are shots you want to give up as opposed to having guards turn the corner on him, or having big men escape from him. You can say Blake should help here, but if he helps, it is an easy dump off to Howard, or pass the the corner three point shooter (Parsons) if Dudley rotates to Howard.

The alternate adjusment is what the Knicks were doing last year. So in that video, Blake would help, Dudley would stay on Howard to block the pass, DJ would stay with his man, and Redick's rotation would be to automatically sprint to the corner to guard Parsons, but from that far away, it is a bit hard

The Bulls are doing it there too. I think it will help DJ a bit, and you are also giving teams multiple looks because Blake will be hedging, but DJ will be playing ICE, so their PG can't just make the same reads if he isn't using the same screen setter.

Just a thought.

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