Jamal Crawford can’t say enough about defense of DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan has 169 blocked shots this season. That’s 27 more than his previous best of 142 in the 2010-11 season, and there are still 12 games left in the regular season. His average of 2.4 is third best in the league.

Jordan is also averaging a league-high 13.7 rebounds. His previous best was 8.3 in 2011-12.

Teammate Jamal Crawford, for one, can’t say enough about the 6-foot-11 Jordan.

“He’s the defensive player of the year,” Crawford said at Monday’s shoot-around ahead of the Clippers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. “He’s unbelievable. I mean, sometimes we’ll get beat and we’ll look up in the air, and we know he’s there.

“I mean, it’s not a good thing to have, but I guess it is a good thing to have in that respect. I think his impact on defense has been as good or better than anyone else in the league.”

 

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Blake Griffin’s scoring average is highest since his rookie campaign

Blake Griffin had a terrific rookie season in 2010-2011. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds. But his numbers declined in each of the next two seasons. He went for 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds his sophomore campaign and 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds this past season.

Griffin has responded by averaging 24.3 points through 69 games of this, his fourth season in the NBA. His rebounding numbers – he’s averaging 9.7 – still don’t match what he did as a rookie. Then again, center DeAndre Jordan is averaging a league-leading 13.7 rebounds for the Clippers this season, and that makes it difficult for Griffin to grab 12 a game himself.

Jordan averaged 7.2 rebounds during Griffin’s rookie season.

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Center DeAndre Jordan has the longest current iron-man streak in the NBA

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has now played in a league-high 227 consecutive regular-season games, including Monday’s at Denver.

That puts Jordan No. 4 all-time for the franchise. Randy Smith played in 595 consecutive games, Michael Brooks in 293 and Freeman Williams 249. Danny Manning is fifth at 206.

Jordan and Blake Griffin are the only two Clippers to have played in all 69 games this season.

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Blake Griffin lays blame for loss at Denver at his own talented feet

Clippers forward Blake Griffin had just been named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday when he took the floor later that night at Denver. The quest: a 12th consecutive victory.

Griffin scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and doled out four assists. But he made just 7 of 25 shots from the field, and he seemed to want to take the blame for the defeat.

“Too many missed shots, too many small errors here and there,” Griffin said on the Clippers’ website. “Everybody played hard, but I just put us in a bad position.”

It was the second leg of back-to-back games, but center DeAndre Jordan did not want to use that as an alibi.

“Back-to-backs are always tough, especially because we’ve got guys down,” he said, referring to his team’s injuries. “But that’s no excuse. Every team has back-to-backs and it’s tough. You’ve just got to find a way to win. That’s all.”

The Clippers have been given a couple of days off by coach Doc Rivers and won’t practice again until Thursday. They play host to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at 7:30  p.m.

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Forward Blake Griffin named Western Conference Player of the Week

Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been named Western Conference Player of the Week, the NBA announced Monday.

In four games played between March 10 and March 16, Griffin averaged 27 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in victories over Phoenix, Golden State, Utah and Cleveland.

Griffin is averaging 24.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the season. He is one of just two Clippers who have played in all 68 games – center DeAndre Jordan is the other.

Griffin and the Clippers (48-20) will put their 11-game winning streak on the line tonight when they play at Denver (29-37) at 7:30 (on Prime Ticket).

The Clippers have not tasted defeat since dropping a 102-96 decision
Feb. 21 at Memphis.

 

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Collective effort helps Clippers rout Kings

It was over before you knew it, before many in the crowd had a chance to bite into their hot dogs or take a sip from their drinks, before the Clippers could really flex their muscles in front of the Sacramento Kings.

Caron Butler sank a 3-pointer to break an early tie. DeAndre Jordan soared to dunk a missed shot by teammate Chris Paul a moment later and then dunked a lob pass from Blake Griffin, who sank a hook shot a minute later.

The Clippers were never challenged again and seized a lopsided 116-81 victory Saturday night from the Kings in front of a sellout crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center. After breaking a 6-6 tie on Butler’s 3, the Clippers were unstoppable.

“We didn’t let them in the game early,” Paul said after the Clippers’ widest margin of victory this season. “The ball moved. Everybody touched the ball. We’re pretty dangerous when that happens. Tonight we made shots and got (defense) stops.

“It was collective.”

Playing with an unmistakable sense of purpose, the Clippers did what good teams are supposed to do when they play poor ones. They exploited the Kings’ weaknesses and took away their will to fight by building a big lead and holding it.

The Clippers led by 30-17 after the first quarter, then by 58-34 at halftime before they really warmed to the task. They led by as many as 34 points in the third quarter and held an 87-58 advantage going into the fourth.

It was simply exercise by then, which was fine with the Clippers (10-6). Their second unit got to play extended minutes and their starters got a chance to rest and cheer their teammates. No one in a Clippers uniform was overworked.

Clippers fans, having grown bored with the game, entertained themselves by performing a fourth-quarter wave before heading for the exits. The Clippers led by 101-70 when many in the crowd departed with 5:37 remaining.

Jamal Crawford, a reserve guard, led seven Clippers in double figures with 17 points. Griffin, Paul and backup guard Eric Bledsoe each scored 14 points. Jordan scored 13 points, Matt Barnes added 12 points and Butler scored 11 points.

Marcus Thornton scored 20 points for the Kings, who fell to 4-12 overall and 0-6 on the road. Jason Thompson added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Thornton and Thompson were the only Kings starters to score in double figures.

“I said to the guys, ‘I’ve never played on an Olympic team, but it seems that’s how this is,’” said Crawford, who added a season-high six assists. “Very balanced, guys really unselfish. We have to do it by committee and that’s how we did it.”

The Clippers did all the right things to ensure they would have an easy night. They took the game to the Kings from the opening tip and led by as many as 25 points in the second quarter, playing with equal gusto with and without the ball.

Sacramento seemed befuddled at both ends of the court as the Clippers overwhelmed the Kings with their depth, their skill and a sound game plan. Mostly, the Clippers put their heads down and took the ball to the hoop.

Lob City was open for business with the Clippers scoring 32 of their first 58 points in the paint. There was one significant mishap when Griffin attempted to throw down a lob for a wicked dunk but ended up tossing the ball into the Clippers’ bench.

Griffin was fouled on his misfire, which figured to be a staple on the late-night blooper reels. He made up for it by sinking the ensuing free throws and helping to propel the Clippers to a commanding 58-34 lead by halftime.

“They played at a level that was very high,” Kings coach Keith Smart said of the Clippers. “They have a group of players who play together and they have a bigger purpose with what they are doing and how they are playing, and they show it.”

 

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Blake Griffin says adjustments hurt the Clippers in loss to Hornets

A lack of intensity hurt the Clippers’ chances for a victory Monday, no question about it, but did a change in tactics finish them? Clippers power forward Blake Griffin said he believed some changes made on the fly also were to blame.

“I think we tried to change some things, tried to change our schemes and some things we have been successful at and that hurt us,” Griffin said after scoring a career-low four points on 1-for-9 shooting against the New Orleans Hornets.

“I think we should play teams how we play every team. We made adjustments down the stretch when certain guys hurt us and I think we should have stuck with what we had been doing and what has made us successful.”

Coach Vinny Del Negro went with a smaller lineup, playing center DeAndre Jordan for only 15 minutes, 23 seconds. Del Negro also used Jordan’s backup, Ryan Hollins, for barely eight minutes.

“He wasn’t involved,” Del Negro said of Jordan. “It wasn’t just ‘D.J.’ It was all of our big guys. They weren’t active. They weren’t physical. They didn’t set the tone for us from the start. It’s not just one guy. It’s everybody.”

The Clippers hope to keep things simple Wednesday, when they play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves.


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DeAndre Jordan adding offense to his game for the Clippers

Tomorrow’s story today …

DeAndre Jordan has made seven consecutive free throws.

He’s almost doubled his career scoring average.

Shaquille O’Neal called him the Western Conference’s best center right now.

Jordan’s progress with the basketball in his hands has been so remarkable so far this season and so helpful in balancing the Clippers’ all-too-predictable offense that it’s difficult to select which of the three lines above is more astounding than the others.

Let’s go line by line.

First, the Clippers hired a shooting coach, Bob Thate, to work with Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin to improve their free throw percentages. The Clippers believed Jordan and Griffin gave away points with poor free-throw shooting.

Jordan shot 52.5 percent in 2011-12, a career best, but nothing to brag about. He’s connecting at only 46.7 percent (7 of 15) this season, but he’s made seven in a row going into tonight’s game against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.

So, perhaps Thate’s tutoring is playing dividends.

Second, Jordan’s scoring average is up to 11.3 points after seven games. His career average was a paltry 6.1 points after four seasons as a defense-first center on a team that didn’t ask him to do much offensively.

Jordan has shown a willingness to shoot when in the low post so far this season. He’s displayed a nice touch on his running hooks, confident in his shot with either hand. He’s also been unstoppable at point-blank range, dunking with authority.

Third, O’Neal’s comments came after fellow TNT analyst Steve Kerr addressed the Clippers’ lack of offensive variety last season. Without naming names, Kerr suggested the Clippers relied too heavily on Griffin and point guard Chris Paul.

This season, the Clippers have encouraged Jordan to look for his shot more often.

“We tell ‘D.J.’ he’s a huge part of this team,” Paul said of Jordan, who has scored 20 points or more twice this season and has two other games with 10 points or more. “He knows it, too. To us, he’s one of our most valuable players.”

O’Neal, who knows a thing or two about playing the center position after a Hall of Fame career that included three NBA titles with the Lakers to start the 2000s and a fourth with the Heat, praised Jordan’s play.

“I don’t know what all the other big guys were doing this summer, but I know what DeAndre Jordan was doing. He was working on his game,” O’Neal said during last Thursday’s telecast of the Clippers’ victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

“He’s playing like a real big man, taking his time and going right over the top,” O’Neal continued. “I’m going on the record. The best center in the West right now is DeAndre Jordan. You heard it here first.”

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Clippers fall to Grizz

The final score was 85-68, and it wasn’t pretty. With Eric Gordon out with a sore right now, the Clips didn’t have much offense, as only Blake Griffin (18 points on 8-of-20 shooting) and Nik Caner-Medley (who scored 15 and seven of the game’s first eight) reached double-figures. Full recap and boxscore here.

Where was DeAndre Jordan?

No, really. 28 minutes, but only six rebounds and two points? The second-year man definitely suffered through some growing pains against young Memphis center Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. Jordan, who turns 21 on Tuesday, also fouled out and committed five turnovers.

In other news, it looks like Marcellus Kemp has been dropped from the roster and replaced by former University of San Diego forward Corey Belser, who was at the mini-camp.

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Griffin’s final line

In 29 minutes, Blake Griffin had 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds. He also committed five turnovers and four fouls, but a solid debut nonetheless. Interestingly, he was listed as the center to start the game, although he moved back to the 4 when DeAndre Jordan came in.

Oh, and the Clippers won, 93-82. Full boxscore here.

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