SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Just last week, the Los Angeles Clippers held the best defensive efficiency rating in the NBA.
They have tumbled since then, falling and falling again, their defensive lapses once more pulling them under during a 120-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night at the AT&T Center.
Before dropping their third straight game and fifth in their last six, the Clippers had trickled to 14th in the league in defensive efficiency to 102.4.
"Uh," Austin Rivers sighed, shaking his head when told of those numbers. "I'm sure it's worse now."
It will be worse, for sure.
The Clippers have surrendered an average of 119.3 points per game in their last four losses. They gave up 141 to the Golden State Warriors and now 120 to the Spurs.
"We've got to be better defensively," said Rivers, who finished with 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting, four for six on three-pointers. "We have no excuse, to be quite honest.
"We have the best defensive five in the NBA. You have the best defensive point guard in the NBA in Patrick (Beverley). I consider myself an elite top-five shooting guard/defensive guard in the league. Me and Patrick are top five in steals in this league. We have too many good defenders. We've got guys like Wesley (Johnson) and we've got Blake (Griffin). They are long and athletic. We should be better."
In the first half, the Clippers were solid on defense, holding the Spurs to 38.9 percent in the second quarter.
That defense apparently stayed in the locker room at halftime, never appearing again.