DeAndre Jordan cradled the basketball as the clock wound down on the Clippers’ 129-119 victory over the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.
On this personal milestone night for Jordan, he probably deserved to be the final Clipper to touch the basketball even if seven of them scored in double figures for the second consecutive game.
The 6-11 center was a tower of strength, delivering a career-high 30 points on 11-for-14 shooting.
Jordan filled just about every box on the stat sheet and his performance was a main reason why the Clippers finished strong with a 3-1 record on this four-game trip before the All-Star break starts this weekend.
He was his typical self on the backboards, collecting 13 rebounds. He had four steals and three assists.
But where Jordan really stood out was at the free-throw line. The notorious free-throw shooter missed just one of his nine attempts.
“I think it was great for us to build confidence on a road trip like this, knowing that we have two more games coming out of the All-Star break (on the road)” said Jordan, preferring to downplay his personal work. “I think we’ve been doing a really good job playing well, but we just need to finish off games. Coming in here in a tough environment against a really good team, we were able to do that tonight.”
The Clippers did it because Jordan was relentless.
Even when the Celtics went to the Hack-A-Jordan, he responded by making his free throws.
He made two in that instance with 4:38 left to give the Clippers a 114-109 lead.
He made two more under the same circumstances with 2:04 left to give the Clippers a 123-113 lead that was never threatened again.
“I don’t get as frustrated as I used to,” Jordan said about being intentionally fouled. “My teammates have a lot of confidence in me at the line and I’m comfortable up there now. So when I just take my time and I don’t rush and I shoot the basketball the same way, I’m comfortable with misses that I do have…I just got to keep my rhythm.”
Tobias Harris (21 points, eight rebounds, five assists,), Danilo Gallinari (20 points, nine rebounds) and Lou Williams (19 points, six assists) were all in a good enough rhythm for the Clippers to take care of the Celtics at TD Garden.
“The one thing we have, and we keep doing it, we have five and six, seven guys in double figures every night,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s really hard to key on the one guy.”
The Clippers were leading by 10 as the 24-second clock was winding down. Jordan had the basketball in his hands looking at the clock, letting it run out for a violation that only brought a smile to his face and that of his teammates with 2.1 seconds left.
“DJ was amazing,” Rivers said. “When he rolls (to the basket), he puts so much pressure on [a team] because we have guards that go downhill. So when a guard is going downhill and he’s rolling, you have to pick your poison. Either you have to try to stop the guard or we throw it up in the air. DJ can go get it.”