LA Clippers say lack of defense cost them at OKC

first_imgRussell Westbrook was one of the goats March 2 when his Oklahoma City Thunder team led the Clippers by 17 points entering the fourth quarter at Staples Center, before the Clippers came back and won by five.He more than made up for that by coming through with an incredible triple-double in OKC’s 120-108 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday in Oklahoma City.Westbrook had 25 points, 20 assists and 11 rebounds to become the first player since the Lakers’ Magic Johnson in 1988 to have a triple-double consisting of at least 25 points, 20 assists and 10 rebounds.Clippers coach Doc Rivers and a couple of his key players, however, intimated their lack of defense is why the Thunder won the game. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “They played a great game,” he said. “They played a great 48 minutes. Even when we would make a run, they would always respond. They got off to a great start — 39 points in the first quarter is unacceptable. We’ve been a good defensive team, but we were just awful tonight.”All that said, Rivers made sure he gave Westbrook his due. Sort of, anyway.“He was great,” Rivers said. “I mean, he didn’t have a lot of resistance though, you know? We were sending him certain ways and there was nobody there to help. But he still has to do it and you can do half the league and play with wrong coverage and they still can’t get those numbers, so give Westbrook credit.”Killed on the boardsIt didn’t help that the Clippers (41-22) were outrebounded 52-29. DeAndre Jordan, who entered averaging 14.1 rebounds, led the Clippers with only seven. The Clippers were again without Blake Griffin as well as forward Luc Mbah a Moute (lacerated eyelid).“It was a factor,” Rivers said of OKC’s size. “I thought their movement, their energy and their execution was better though, and that’s why they got a lot of rebounds. We were in the wrong place a lot, so it was tough to watch.”Scouting the KnicksThe Knicks (27-39) earlier this season appeared like they had a decent shot to make the playoffs, but they have fallen on hard times. They were 22-22 after an overtime victory over Utah on Jan. 20. They have since gone 5-17 to fall out of realistic postseason contention.New York is led by small forward Carmelo Anthony. He’s averaging 21.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists — all team-highs.center_img “I thought our defense overall from the tip was bad,” said Rivers, whose team hosts the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Staples Center. “One of the rare games where we just didn’t establish ourselves defensively, I thought it bled over to our offense, so give them credit.“I thought they moved the ball, they trusted their offense the entire game, made the extra passes, but I just thought we were horrible defensively tonight. It happens.”Point guard Chris Paul concurred.“We gave up 39 (points) the first quarter, 60-something (64) in the first half,” he said. “We just never impacted the game defensively. I feel like Russ (Westbrook) went wherever he wanted to go, and that’s on me. But we’ve got to be better.”Shooting guard J.J. Redick gave his take.last_img

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