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Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan making most of renewed opportunity

His season was fast slipping away, getting lost in that dreaded status known as INACTIVE.

Then, last week, two things happened to second-year center DeAndre Jordan.

He had a chat with Mike Dunleavy, initiated by the Clippers’ coach. Secondly, Marcus Camby had an ailing left knee, and sat out against the Boston Celtics last Sunday.

Jordan came away with a better understanding of his role on the team, and Camby’s temporary absence gave the high-spirited youngster an opportunity to emerge from the depths of the bunker.

“I didn’t think I was like in trouble or in the doghouse or anything,” Jordan said. “I guess [Dunleavy] just thought other people were playing better at the time.

“It wasn’t anything like where he was saying negative things. I was inactive and I don’t know why. I’m not anymore. I’m playing now and just going to make the best of it.”

That happened in the win over Boston. Jordan played just well enough, collecting eight rebounds and six points. He had similar numbers Thursday against Philadelphia -- seven points, nine rebounds.

If the message from Dunleavy hadn’t come through loud and clear, it certainly got across Dec. 22 when he didn’t play a single minute in front of family and friends at Houston.

“I’ve got my opportunity and if I just go out there and produce . . . I know I’m not going to score 20, 30 points,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and rebound, defend and block shots. And when I score, it’s a bonus for us.”

Said Dunleavy: “The first thing is his rebounding. His size, presence and rebounding is good. Those are the things you look at and say, ‘OK, that gives you some minutes.’

“It’s all about retention and consistency.”

His free-throw struggles are a continuing saga. Jordan is shooting 29.7% from the line.

“I’m working on it. I tell everybody: ‘I don’t miss them on purpose.’ It’s going to be a long process. . . . I’ve just got to keep shooting. . . . When I go to the line, I can’t be like, ‘Oh man, I’m at the free-throw line.’ ”

Etc.

Dunleavy, on what he picked up from home during Thursday’s game, which he missed after aggravating a herniated disk in his lower back with a hard sneeze: “You yell just as much at the TV as you do on the sidelines,” he said, smiling.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa


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