At least one good thing came out of the Clippers' 102-100 loss to Brooklyn on Monday, during which they blew an eight-point lead with 1 minute and 11 seconds left by allowing the Nets to go on a 10-0 run.
DeAndre Jordan had his first ever 20-20 performance, finishing with 22 points and 20 rebounds. The Clippers' center, however, wasn't so successful in another category, namely free throws, of which he made only two of 12 attempts.
"What D.J. does for our team is far more valuable than those missed free throws," Clippers' Coach Doc Rivers said.
Jordan is leading the league in rebounds, averaging 13.6 a game. He's second in the NBA in blocked shots, averaging 2.4 a game. And he's averaging 10.4 points a game on an incredibly efficient 73.2% shooting. Of course, he's still struggling from the free-throw line, where he's shooting just 39%.
The Clippers argued that Jordan should be an All-Star this season for his first time in his career. After he was passed over for the fan vote, Rivers called coaches around the league to try and persuade them to vote him in as a reserve.
"I think if DJ was doing what he's doing on the defensive end on the offensive end, he'd be in," Rivers said Jan. 26. "And every coach tells you that they want their players to sacrifice and be All-Star role players, then you have a guy that actually does it and they don't reward him. It just makes no sense to me. I'm trying to get the coaches to back their talk up basically and vote for DJ."
Jordan, however, did not end up making the coaches' cut.
Since the beginning of the season, Rivers has praised Jordan's contribution to the team, saying that many of the things that he does don't even appear on the stat sheets. There are no stats for how many shots a game he alters. Or how many dribble-drives he deters.
Jordan may not be getting the recognition Rivers thinks he deserves around the league, but within the team, he's definitely celebrated.
After the Clippers loss on Monday, Rivers sang Jordan's praises.
"He was the one for us tonight," Rivers said of Jordan. "He had an amazing amount of energy but I can’t remember the last time he didn’t, if you want to be honest. I can’t remember that game. That doesn’t mean he has 20-20s, but he plays with great spirit and heart pretty much every night and he does everything right for us."