DeAndre Jordan has his All-Star weekend routine all figured out. He’ll probably be relaxing somewhere next month while Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin take part in the festivities in New York.
“Blake sends me pictures and FaceTimes me when he’s there,” Jordan joked Monday, referring to past experience during the NBA’s midseason showcase.
The Clippers are just delighted they never have to go anywhere without Jordan in games that count.
Jordan showed once again why he might be the league’s most underrated center throughout the Clippers’ 102-93 victory over the Boston Celtics at Staples Center.
He tallied 12 rebounds, six blocks and two steals — no surprise there — to go with 19 points, the latter statistic somewhat of an aberration for a player averaging single digits in points per game.
Jordan’s modest scoring production might be the only thing keeping him from stardom. You won’t find him in national advertising campaigns like his more celebrated teammates, despite a lively, engaging personality. You probably also won’t see him in the All-Star game Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Jordan ranked 12th in the latest fan voting figures for Western Conference frontcourt players, though he still could be selected by coaches as a reserve.
“What he does every night, to me, is just as important as the guys who are scoring every night,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who unsuccessfully lobbied his peers last season for Jordan’s inclusion in the All-Star game. “Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s looked [at] in the league or the game. It’s all about the points — we all know that — especially for the All-Star game.”
Jordan was part of a defense that held Boston to 39.3% shooting and helped the Clippers get the stops they needed after the Celtics had trimmed a 23-point deficit to three with less than four minutes to go in the game.
OK, so he missed three of four free throws — including an airball — after the Celtics twice intentionally fouled him in the final three minutes. Rivers subbed in Spencer Hawes for Jordan until there were less than two minutes to play and the Celtics could no longer intentionally foul without more severe consequences.
“I obviously want to make them,” Jordan said of his free throws, “but if I don’t and we go down and get a stop, the score hasn’t changed and we’re still up by the same amount of points.”
That’s exactly what happened. The Celtics scored only five points over the game’s final 3:50, allowing the Clippers (28-14) to emerge with a second consecutive victory behind Griffin’s 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Jordan made eight of nine shots to increase his league-leading field-goal percentage to .721, and he continues to lead the NBA in rebounding with 13.4 per game.
Does Jordan get too little credit?
“He’s going to get a max contract this summer,” Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick said. “That’s a lot of credit.”
Jordan’s teammates showed him respect with their playfulness. Forward Matt Barnes wrapped a towel around Jordan’s mouth during an on-court television interview after the game, and Redick couldn’t resist quipping about a player who has made 39.9% of his free throws this season.
“He’s as good as they come defensively, he also shoots a very high percentage . . . from the field,” Redick said, pausing for effect. “And he’s a star. He’s a star in my book. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t think he’s a star.”