DeAndre Jordan had zero points for the Clippers against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday. He missed his only shot in that game and had just six rebounds.
Jordan vowed to play better in Game 5 on Tuesday night, and he did in a very big way.
His 25 points were the most in his career in a playoff game and were a big reason why the Clippers defeated the Warriors, 113-103, at Staples Center to open a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Jordan also had a game-high 18 rebounds and four blocked shots.
He made eight of his 10 shots.
And though the 6-foot-11 Jordan shot nine-for-17 from the free-throw line, he made six of eight from the line when the Warriors began to intentionally foul him in the fourth quarter.
“I felt like our focus was off in Game 4,” Jordan said. “I cannot be unfocused. I feel like my energy is big for our team, and I can’t come out and not give us 110% in energy and effort.”
Jordan and his teammates had to deal with the fallout from the comments attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling regarding African Americans.
What NBA officials have determined was Sterling’s voice was heard on an audio recording released by TMZ on Friday night, in which he told a female friend that he was upset she posted a picture of Instagram of herself next to Lakers legend and Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson.
When Game 4 started Sunday afternoon in Oakland, Jordan said the situation “definitely was a distraction.”
But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday banned Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA and said he can’t attend any NBA games or practices. Silver said Sterling can't participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.
Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million and said he is urging the NBA's Board of Governors to use its authority to force Sterling to sell the team.
“I felt like that just took our minds off of what has been going on,” Jordan said. “I feel like we get a lot of [stuff] from our family and our friends.
“It’s never going to go away. But I feel like it was definitely a weight lifted off our shoulders so we can just continue to focus on playing basketball.”