Clippers’ trust in each other leads to the NBA’s best defense so far

first_img“Golden State, you only talk about the offense, and I think we should talk about their defense way more,” Doc Rivers said of the Warriors, winners of two of the past three NBA championships. “They do it as well as anybody, and that’s why they’re so good defensively.”INJURY UPDATESAustin Rivers was in the Clippers’ lineup Saturday, two nights after suffering a dislocated right pinkie in a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. He wore a protective sleeve over his injured finger, but otherwise said he was good to go.Rivers’ injury could have been devastating to the Clippers’ guard depth. They are already without Milos Teodosic because of a plantar fascia injury in his left foot. Teodosic was hurt in the Clippers’ second game of the season and is sidelined indefinitely.Asked for an update, Doc Rivers said: “I saw him riding the bike. I don’t know what that means. I was on the bike next to him, and I’m not going to play. He was on the bike and I was on the bike, and he was going faster than me. I think that’s a good sign. He wasn’t doing that last week, so that’s good.” So far, the Clippers have covered for each other when playing defense. Breakdowns have happened, though. It’s the NBA, after all. Great offensive players can beat great defenses. But the Clippers have policed themselves when it comes to defensive lapses.“You’ve just got to pull the trigger and trust that someone will pull the trigger for you,” Doc Rivers said. “What I like about this group is if someone doesn’t pull the trigger, I’m not the first one to be telling them. They’re telling each other, and they don’t care who it is.“I think if I could say the biggest change in our team, it might be that. They don’t care who it is. They’re telling them. ‘You were supposed to be there,’ and the biggest thing is that guy acknowledges it. It’s all right to say, ‘my fault,’ and they’re doing that, so that’s good.“From a coaching standpoint, you don’t want 20 or 30 ‘my faults.’ Then we all have a problem.”Is it possible to be an elite team without playing with a strong sense of defensive trust? The Clippers say they “trust” each other on defense. They went into Saturday’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center with the NBA’s stingiest defense, giving up an average of only 91.8 points. They also had outscored the opposition by a league-high average of 19.2 points.What does “trust” really mean?“I guess the best way to explain trust is if someone gets beat off the dribble and a low guy, whoever the other guy is, goes and rotates freely and then someone picks up his guy, that’s trust,” Doc Rivers said when asked for a layman’s explanation. “What breaks down trust is when someone gets beat off the dribble, the guy goes to help and then his guy gets a dunk, the next time, that guy’s not going to help. That’s when you break down your trust. You’ve got to have blind trust to be a great defensive team.” Lou Williams thrust into bigger role for Clippers Clippers coach Doc Rivers focused on guards’ minutes center_img LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin talks about it. DeAndre Jordan talks about it. Patrick Beverley talks about it. Clippers coach Doc Rivers talks about it, too.Related Articles Clippers pleased to be undefeated, but they’re far from satisfied Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img