Coach, Blake Griffin differ on defense

Updated: March 22, 2013, 6:29 PM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro believes his team's defense will get better over the final 13 games of the season, although his reasoning is based largely on how poor their defense has been of late.

"I don't think it can get any worse, so let's look on the bright side," Del Negro said after practice Friday. "Let's flip it around. Glass is half full, right?"

The Clippers' defense has been a big reason why the team is 4-4 in their last eight games and 15-13 after a league-best 32-9 start to the season.

They are the fourth-worst team in defending the 3-pointer, allowing teams to shoot 37.8 percent, and are letting teams hit close to 50 percent from 3-point range in their 22 losses.

"Our bigs are getting stretched out a little bit," Del Negro said. "They have to have a little sense of urgency in closing out. Some guys can make that adjustment, and some guys are struggling with that but drilled it again today. That's obviously an area of concern."

Clippers forward Blake Griffin disagreed with Del Negro.

"It depends on our defensive strategy and our defensive principles for that game," Griffin said. "We switch them every single game. I don't see that, no, but I'm biased."

Griffin, however, did think the Clippers had the ability to turn around their defense before the playoffs begin next month.

"Our main focus of practice and our theme of practice has been defensively making sure we're executing our game plan," Griffin said. "Because like I said, we switch it up every game, depending on who we're playing and who has the ball and who's a threat for them."

After the Clippers' 101-72 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Griffin said he wanted his team to get to the point where it didn't have to adjust to every opponent.

"We want our identity to be a defensive team," Griffin said. "We don't want to have to make adjustments for every single team and switch things up but to make teams adjust to us and the way we play."

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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