Defensive Inconsistency Will Keep Los Angeles Clippers From Deep Playoff Run

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At one point this season the Los Angeles Clippers held the NBA‘s best record, but spotty defense has since shed some light on the team’s biggest weakness; inconsistent defensive intensity.

Head coach Vinny Del Negro has noticed it as well, and was quoted as saying this week, ”I don’t think it can get any worse, so let’s look on the bright side,” Del Negro said after practice Friday. “Let’s flip it around. Glass is half full, right?” Del Negro went on to elaborate, “Our bigs are getting stretched out a little bit,” Del Negro said. “They have to have a little sense of urgency in closing out. That’s obviously an area of concern.”

And Coach Del Negro is right. The Clippers have arguably the most athletic power forward/center combination in the league with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but both big men have a tendency to be a little lackadaisical on the defensive end of the court. Griffin has shown major improvement in this area since his rookie season, but he still has room to grow as a defender.

After jumping out to a 32-9 record the Clippers are since a mediocre 15-13. They are only giving up a respectable 96.3 points per game in that span, but were holding opponents to just 92.7 points over the first 41 games of the season. The Clippers need to rediscover the intensity that they showed earlier in the season.

The Clippers offense has it’s moments of greatness, but if Los Angeles doesn’t buckle down defensively their high-flying antics won’t matter much against consistently good teams in the playoffs

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