Like virtually the entire team, DeAndre Jordan was bummed out when he took the floor Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland for Game 4 of the Clippers’ Western Conference playoff series against Golden State. Only a day earlier the team found out its owner – Donald Sterling – had spewed racist comments about African-Americans during an argument with his girlfriend V. Stiviano.
The result was a 118-97 victory for the Warriors. In the game, Jordan had zero points, just six rebounds and two blocks.
Two days later, on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Sterling punished Sterling by banning him for life from the Clippers and the rest of the NBA, with the vow he would try to push Sterling out altogether via a 75-percent vote of the other league owners.
Happy days were here again for the Clippers, and it showed Tuesday night when they defeated the Warriors 113-103 in Game 5 at Staples Center to take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Jordan’s numbers? He had 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.
His teammate, Blake Griffin, marveled.
“I mean, he was huge tonight,” Griffin said post-game. “He was unreal. I’ve never seen him play a game like that from start to finish. Obviously, on defense he was great and when he plays like that, it takes our team to another level. He was dissapointed in Game 4, like we all were and it showed tonight. He bottled up some energy and bottled up some anger and left it all out there.”
Coach Doc Rivers was reminded of what Griffin said during a conference call Wednesday. Rivers took it a step further.
“DJ has to be there every night,” Rivers said. “He’s so important to us and that’s what I’ve been telling everyone all year. His importance to this team, the value of it, almost can’t be measured because he does so many things with his athleticism, his enreryg, his
defense. He bails us out so many times defensively, from a game-plan mistake or just a great play by the other team. The fact that he has the ability to erase our mistakes,
his ability to be just a one-man rebounding machine, gives us extra possessions. His value to our team is unlimited.”
Six of Jordan’s rebounds Tuesday were on the offensive end.