There was some symmetry to the end of the NBA's longest active streak of consecutive games played.
DeAndre Jordan sat out Wednesday for the first time in nearly five years because of pneumonia, the same illness that had sidelined the Clippers center the last time he had sat out a game. Jordan had played in 360 consecutive games, last sitting out March 23, 2011.
The streak didn't end without a fight.
"I can tell you he was doing everything he could to try and play in this game," Coach Doc Rivers said before the game against the Miami Heat. "I thought even the thought of it was ludicrous, but not him. We texted back and forth, 'I'm going to play, I'm going to make it, I'll be there' and then finally the last text was 'I can't make it.'
"You appreciate guys [like that]. [Former NBA coach] Hubie Brown's favorite saying is the No. 1 ability is availability and D.J. is the king of it."
Cleveland's Tristan Thompson takes over the NBA's longest active streak of games played with 324.
Cole Aldrich made his first start of the season in Jordan's absence and scored the game's first four points.
Rivers said Jordan had visited a hospital at one point, but it did not appear that he was in any kind of danger. Jordan had been feeling sick for a few days, taking a turn for the worse after the Clippers' game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
Jordan's presence in the Clippers lineup had been such a constant that Rivers said he wasn't even aware Jordan held the designation as the active player with the longest playing streak.
"You get so used to putting his name in [the lineup] in ink, you don't even think about it," Rivers said. "I had no idea it was 360 until just now."
Said Aldrich: "Just getting through a full season of 82 [games] is a big deal. When you add four, five more years onto that, then it becomes in that really, really special area."
Rivers said the Clippers would primarily miss Jordan's athleticism and his voice as the defensive coordinator on the court.
"We'll miss his talk," Rivers said. "That's all we talked about today in shoot-around. We have to be a loud team because D.J.'s loud."
Clippers guard Austin Rivers said he texted Jordan earlier in the day, advising him to get some rest.
"It's obviously what his body's telling him," Rivers said. "That's first and foremost."
Update on Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin has resumed weight-bearing activities in his recovery from a partially torn left quadriceps, but Doc Rivers made it sound as if the All-Star forward's return was not imminent.
"I think this thing is going to take it's time, if you want me to be honest," Rivers said of an injury that has sidelined Griffin since the day after Christmas. "I don't know what that actually means, but I don't think we should look for him anytime soon."
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