Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: When you’re down an All-Star, others have to step up. When you’re in a contract year, you have great incentive to step up. And when you’re the only interior force left, you better make your presence known. In the words of Fred Katz, DeAndre Jordan came out “actually playing like Bill Russell” in Dallas. Jordan took advantage of Tyson Chandler’s absence (and Dallas’ usual lack of depth) and feasted for 22 points (on 12 shots) and a career-high 27 rebounds, adding 3 blocks. Jordan even made six-of-nine free throws in what is arguably the best game of his seven-year career.
That was … decisive: Injuries are a two-sided coin. You have to take advantage of healthy times, and you have to take advantage of weakened opponents. There are some folks who look at the Clippers’ schedule without Blake Griffin and smoke doom over their chance to compete. For at least one night, the Clippers showed that they can still win with the players – and coach – they have available. They dominated the short-handed Mavericks, outscoring them in every quarter.
X factor: There have been 20 instances of a bench player taking 20 shots or more in a game this season – and Jamal Crawford has four of them. Crawford simply isn’t going to be efficient in his current role; he’s not all that efficient in his usual role. But he’s turning 35 years old in March, and he’s carrying this shallow bench in a way no other player does. It took 24 shots for Crawford to get his 22 points, and he didn’t hit any of his five threes, but he got enough buckets to cancel out Charlie Villanueva’s random 26-point performance.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
Figured out the Clippers path to the title: 1st round: Clippers > Mavericks 2nd round: LA > Dallas WCF: Clips > Mavs Finals: LAC > DAL
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) February 10, 2015
Rick Carlisle on DeAndre Jordan's 27 rebounds: "He looked like Wilt Chamberlain playing in 1963." #DALvsLAC
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) February 10, 2015
Many (including me) have questioned the Clippers, but this is a great win at DAL. 8th gm on 8 gm trip, 4th in 5 nights, no Blake. Gutsy.
— John Ireland (@LAIreland) February 10, 2015
"Going Back to Cali" blasting in the Clippers locker room.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 10, 2015
Check Your Messages
Leg Kick Rebounds
There are times when you’re an athlete and entering the zone of total dominance, fire, and brimstone ignores absolute external circumstances. It happens to all of us but professional athletes kick it up another level because they aren’t really created as equal as the rest of us. Klay Thompson felt like he could fly when Nik Stauskas guarded him in the third quarter of the Sacramento Kings game. Kevin Durant, noted nice guy, screamed expletives as he incinerated the already molded corpse of the Denver Nuggets tonight.
DeAndre Jordan crashed into the zone a different way. Without Tyson Chandler in the game, Jordan could do whatever he wanted with any basketballs in the air. Technically, rebounds can be grabbed by anyone. Against the Mavericks, it was only one. But no one celebrates grabbing rebounds with fist pumps and chest bumps. Those are for falling-down three-pointers.
Jordan did it his own way. With every board, he kicked his right leg into the air like something out of a Bruce Lee movie. A man of his size shouldn’t have that flexibility or agility. Jordan is what he is, an excellent rebounder and finisher. On Monday night, Jordan entered the zone the way scorers did. And he finished each one with an exclamation point only he can.
– Andy Liu
There is Another
It seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away since the Clippers have had to play through a stretch without their young skywalker Blake Griffin, and being their best offensive presence for much of the season to date, one wonders which players among the LAC alliance will fill that void and prevent their playoff hopes from being frozen in carbonite. Enter one DeAndre Jordan, who has averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks since Doc Rivers made him his Padawan learner. His jedi prowess showed again tonight to the tune of 22 points while grabbing 27 boards in a modernist impression of a Sarlacc Pit.
Is there any matchup as favorable for the Clippers than the Mavericks as DeAndre matches so favorably against Dallas’ lack of inside presence? There might not be, but tonight at least provides a new hope for the Clippers for the next few weeks.
It was Star Wars night at American Airlines Center. I’ll see myself out.
– Brandon Tomyoy