DeAndre Jordan sparks Clippers past Pelicans

Chris Paul sat down, took a glance at the stat sheet and shook his head.
The line that followed DeAndre Jordan’s name held his gaze.
“Outstanding,” Paul said. “He was no question the MVP of this game tonight. We don’t win this game without his energy.”
Jordan had 14 points, 20 rebounds, 5 blocked shots, played 43 minutes and made all six of his shots as the Clippers negotiated their way through a flat game to score a 108-95 victory over New Orleans Wednesday at Staples Center.
“We were a little sluggish tonight,” Paul said. “You would have expected that in the Spurs game (Monday night) but it caught up with us tonight. You’ve got to push through.
“DJ kept telling us, ‘Come on, Come on.’ And we fed off it. I love what DJ’s doing. He’s the cornerstone of our defense, he rolls, he gets everybody open on the offensive end. I tell you, we should be seeing him in New Orleans come February if he keeps playing like that.”
That would be for an All-Star appearance for the 6-foot-11 center who was challenged to become a contender for Defensive Player of the Year by Coach Doc Rivers before the season started.
“Doc gave me a challenge early on in the summer, it’s something I’ve embraced and it’s fun to take on that challenge that he gave me,” Jordan said. “Our assistant coaches are great teachers and I’m learning every day and every game and I’m trying to improve.
“I’m just playing the role he wants me to play. I’m trying to be the best defender I can be for our team. If that happens then it happens but I’m taking on the challenge. It’s definitely a goal of mine (the top defensive player). I don’t want to win it just one time, I want to win it multiple times and it’s a process, and I’m taking my steps to become a better defensive player.”
Blake Griffin had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Clippers (18-9) didn’t trail after the middle of the first quarter as they won for the 10th time in 12 home games and stretched their modest winning streak to three. It wasn’t as easy as it might have seemed.
“I was telling somebody in the locker room I was tired like two minutes into the game,” Griffin said. “I don’t know why, I guess it’s kind of that lag. But it was a good win for us and I was proud of the way we gutted it out.”
They picked up defensively where they left off against the Spurs, limiting the Pelicans (11-13) to 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Clippers led by as many as 19 points.
“We’ve leaned on our defense at times when we needed it and we’ve allowed our defense to get us into our offense and get our offense going,” Griffin said. “There was a stretch tonight where it seemed like we kind of missed a lot of shots in a row, but we stayed in the game and maintained our lead because of our defense.”
Jared Dudley had 20 points, Jamal Crawford added 17 and the Clippers got a combined 24 from Darren Collison and Wille Green off the bench. All of that meant a relatively quiet night from Chris Paul, who had 12 points and 11 assists. The Clippers never let the Pelicans to creep back into the game after they took over.
“We played pretty flat and maybe this was the day that the (seven-game) trip caught up with us,” Rivers said. “I thought DJ just single-handedly kept us in with his defense and his rebounding and everything else.
“I think he understands his role to the point where he accepts it and loves it. He’s become a star in his role and we need him to be a shot blocker, rebounder and a defender. What he’s shown is he’s still going to score by doing all that stuff and he got 14 points because of it.
Rivers had the rare opportunity to coach against his son, Austin, for the second time in their NBA careers.
“I actually didn’t like it,” Doc Rivers said. “Going against your own son, it’s no fun for you. When he has the ball as a parent you’re like ‘Don’t get hurt, don’t make a mistake, but turn the ball over.’ It’s tough.
“I don’t know what parent is going to cheer against his own kid.”
The Pelicans also pulled a bit of a surprise by activating Anthony Davis before the game. The star forward was expected to be out for a couple more weeks with a broken hand, but the club activated him just before tip-off.
In addition, guard Tyreke Evans also played. Evans was listed as day-to-day with a left ankle sprain. Neither started, but Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds. He had missed seven games.
Ryan Anderson had 17 points and Jrue Holiday added 13 points for New Orleans.

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