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

By in Press Enterprise on October 29, 2017

By Elliott Teaford

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.

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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.”

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, […]    

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