Clippers go back to work on defense

After a day of sorting through the remnants of the Clippers’ opening night loss to the Lakers, Coach Doc Rivers might as well have quoted one of Chris Paul’s most favorite recent sayings:
“It’s a process.”
On both ends of the court, the Clippers clearly have not reached the stage where they’re thinking with their feet instead of their heads. He said he doesn’t mind which reaches that stage first, the offense or the defense, but said he preferred it would be the offense.
Then again, he stressed the defense the same he did since the day he arrived.
“Defensively, this is what I’ve learned: We can be really good, but we’re not at all yet,” Rivers said. “I look at our personnel and athleticism and I think we could be a really good defensive team. But as the game the other night showed, we’re such a long way away, and we’ve got to take the drill stuff to the floor.
“I actually went back and looked at our two practices previous and the coverages were great, the drills were great, everybody was in the right spot. Then the lights came on and we stopped doing it. If it does come, I think we can be a special team in that way.”
To Rivers, defense is not just effort that separates units. It’s learning the system, the players learning to trust each other, and all of the muscle memory and brain memory comes automatically.
“It used to be we always thought on defense all you have to do is play hard,” River said. I don’t believe that. You do have to do that, but if everybody played hard defensively, individually, you would not be a good defensive team. The biggest change in my thinking defensively is as much as you have to work on continuity on offense, you have to work that way on defense. Defense is continuity, It’s talking, being in the right place.
“The only way DeAndre Jordan can go to the opposite side when the big rolls is he knows for a fact and has the trust that someone has his back. When that happens it’s beautiful to watch. It’s not happening yet.”
And when does that happen?
“I don’t know,” he said. “When it happens, you’ll know it. You’ll see it. And the thing with both is it never stays. It goes, it comes back. That’s just part of it. I guess like a relationship.”
Pause.
“That was way too deep,” River said with a laugh. “I’m sorry about that one.”

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