Sports Out West

Clippers news: Blake Griffin, Lob City will spark defense

Wizards v/s Clippers 03/12/11

The key to “Lob City” is defense. The Los Angeles Clippers need to return to its strengths. With a team led by a point guard who’s career averages in steals shame most active NBA players, defense should be second-nature. But, it’s evident that defense was not the priority since the All-Star break.

“We want our identity to be a defensive mind-set,” Blake Griffin told the Los Angeles Times.

Griffin is right on the money. 

It’s a common saying that “defense wins championships,” and the Clippers need that mentality in spades. The saying isn’t just for fun and giggles, last season’s Miami Heat championship proved that. While most of the finals was the Lebron James show, the collective team defense of the Heat kept the explosive Oklahoma City Thunder offense under wraps. They played “pick your poison” and chose which player they wanted to leave open. For most of the series, it was Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook until Game Five; Westbrook would end up 4-20 for the night.

After an embarassing loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Clippers demolished the Philadelphia Sixers, 101-72. Welcome back, defense. Of course, the injured Eric Bledsoe hurts the overall team defense and its schemes, but there’s still Chris Paul. If the Clippers want the same success as the Heat did last season, 101-72 must be a common occurrence until the end of the season.

Steals and blocks lead to fastbreak and mismatches on the offenses. That is the entire Clipper identity on the offensive end. If the team isn’t running and gunning, there is no Lob City or fastbreaks. We all witnessed the Clippers’ half-court offense — it’s just Chris Paul operating. They need to get defensive stops and turnovers to be successful. This is the offensive formula for the Clippers. The bulk of their eighth-best 100.8 points per game is manufactured through their league-leading 675 steals and seventh-best 399 blocks for the season.

As Chris Paul alluded to after the Kings’ defeat, teams just keep scoring three-pointers against them. They’re the fourth-worst in the league in defending the three, clocking in at 37.8 percent against. It’s a daunting statistic, but one that you can live with. If the Clippers continue to close in on outside shooters, eventually, the well of three-pointers should dry up. Should being the operative word.

The Clippers are not the 2012 champion Miami Heat. They’re not as dynamic or glossy. What they are is a rock-solid defensive club that flies higher than any team in the NBA. So, let’s bring back “Lob City” through defense. As it was once said, the best offense is the best defense.

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.

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