Defensive rebounds have become the Clippers’ kryptonite

Before the start of the season, Ty Lue said that he wanted the Clippers to play with more pace. It was a goal he set before the 2020-21 campaign as well, but with a full training camp and a point guard who likes to run the floor in Eric Bledsoe, pushing the tempo seemed like a more reasonable goal. The Clippers also needed to play faster without Kawhi Leonard, the hub of their dominant halfcourt offense.

In a sense, the Clippers have been successful. After finishing 28th in pace last year, the Clippers are all the way up to 11th. The problem is that they’re absolutely terrible at finishing on the break. Per Cleaning the Glass, they only score 112 points per 100 transition possessions, which is well below the league average of 121.3. Think about all the possessions that the Clippers have gotten a steal or pushed after a live rebound and then thrown the ball to one in particular. The efficiency in transition hasn’t been there.

And because opposing teams know that the Clippers can’t beat them in transition, that has created a new problem, one that Paul George ably identified after a loss to New Orleans when only six of the team’s 104 points came on fast breaks.

“It’s every team that’s going to crash against us,” George said. “That’s obviously our kryptonite, every team goes towards that, sending guys to the glass and, you know, they…

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