Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: DeAndre Jordan. Blake who? Okay, maybe not quite. But since the Clippers’ big man went down another DJ’s come out of his shadow. The Clippers have won the last three without #32, largely thanks to DeAndre Jordan who’s averaging 24 points and 21 rebounds over the stretch. Tonight, it was no different. Jordan was dominant from the outset pulling down boards on both ends of the floor. Chris Paul was amazing as well with 22 points and 16 assists including big shot after big shot down the stretch but DeAndre Jordan was the focus of the game, all game. He tried to dunk over Tim Duncan and then did dunk over Marco Belinelli – MJ style. He was a true force — and the only way to stop him was to foul him again and again… and again.
That was … important: The Western Conference playoff race is a bloodbath. As teams retooled today at the trade deadline, these two teams stayed put — taking their same rosters into the final stretch of the season. The Clippers — playing without Blake Griffin and recently acquired Austin Rivers — shortened their bench to eight tonight (including a seven minute cameo from Hedo Turkoglu). An impressive display from CP3, DeAndre and Matt Barnes as well as Jamal Crawford and Big Baby off the bench, showed what the team is capable of when they’re at their best.
X factor: Jamal Crawford. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year has had a down year by his lofty standards — so much so that his name swirled in trade rumors this week but tonight his mastery was again on display. When the Clippers trailed by nine in the third quarter he pulled out a couple of timely threes and even got Patty Mills down on one knee. Crawford didn’t stop there hitting clutch buckets down the stretch and finishing with a team-high 26 points, tied only with DeAndre Jordan.
— Roscoe Whalan
Tweets Of The Game
He’s been fading away since 2008. RT @DanWoikeSports: Hedo Turkoglu somehow shoots a fadeaway set shot.
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) February 20, 2015
DEANDRE JORDAN SMASH https://t.co/RG56tqfaP5
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) February 20, 2015
The only negative to Hack-a-Jordan is having to listen to all the extra Reggie Miller commentary
— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) February 20, 2015
This has been so exhausting that Chris Paul has even stopped attempting absurd same-time half-court shots as Hack-a-Jordan is happening.
— Andy Liu (@AndyKHLiu) February 20, 2015
Check Your Messages
Jamal Crawford gon’ Jamal Crawford
The trade deadline came and went with nary a sound for the Los Angeles Clippers. Jamal Crawford, their likeliest trade asset outside of J.J. Redick, might have been moving on to his 66th team in his 15 seasons as a professional basketball player. On Thursday night, Jamal Crawford reminded Clipper fans and everyone else why he’s so important to the team, through the good and the bad.
– Andy Liu
Quantifying the social and emotional impact on numbers and metrics are a science that still has yet to be figured out. How much does chemistry matter? How about mood? And how do you measure this from player to player?
It does lead one to wonder how much of a toll Jamal Crawford has taken with his name constantly floated in trade rumors since early December. When asked about it in practice, Jamal’s response was simple: “I’m human.”
With the trade deadline now in our rear view, one wonders if tonight’s stellar performance from the reigning Sixth Man of the Year has anything to do with a refreshing sense of security.
– Brandon Tomyoy
Big Things from Big Baby!
As one of the most exciting trade deadlines came and went without the Clippers making a move — it was kind of sad. Like opening presents on Christmas Day and everyone around you is getting heaps cool stuff and then you just get socks (well, for the purpose of this metaphor it was nothing). How come the Clippers couldn’t retool? Get better? Improve the roster?
Tonight all of that was forgotten — almost a year to the day after Glen Davis was signed by the Clippers (after being bought out by the Magic) — Big Baby was at his gigantic best. A three point play, including a ridiculous head-nodding celebration (see above), a saved loose ball from going out of court tossed off of the legs of Patty Mills and a ludicrous block on Tiago Splitter at the rim (don’t care whether if Splitter was passing).
In total, Big Baby put in 17 minutes of pure emotion off of the bench. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds but was an incredible spark plug for the Clippers. In the next few days the Clippers may be in the market for more players who get bought out – let’s hope they can add even just a bit of the energy that Big Baby brings.