"They're playing better than us right now," he said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
Rivers specifically took aim at both the "individual" and pick-and-roll defense Wednesday night.
"I just thought they got matchups, and by the end of the game everybody was a matchup," he told reporters. "They were just looking us in the eye, taking us off the dribble, playing draw-and-kick basketball. And they played together, they moved the ball. I thought that stood out."
Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard also called out the team's defense:
The Clippers won the first game of the series 118-110, but that result was marred somewhat by the controversial ejection of Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis. It's fair to question if the Mavericks would be up 2-0 in the series without that ejection.
Regardless, the Clippers have been tested by the Mavericks thus far. Luka Doncic hasn't made life easy for them, going off for 42 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Game 1 and 28 points, eight boards and seven assists in Game 2.
"It was great," Doncic told reporters after the win. "I'm in a way better mood today. We've just got three left. For sure [we can win the series]. If you don't believe it, you're not supposed to be here."
If the Clippers don't pick up their play, Doncic might just be right.