The NBA’s leading rebounder has become even more prolific at his specialty.
DeAndre Jordan’s newest method of securing the ball after missed shots involves tapping it out to his teammates on the perimeter.
“If I can grab it, I’m going to grab it,” the Clippers center said, “but if I’m being held or if I’m far away, then I’m just going to try to tip it out.”
Jordan has sustained scores of possessions with tap-outs for offensive rebounds in recent games, including the Clippers’ 101-97 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday.
Six of his game-high 19 rebounds were on the offensive end. It was the 10th time in December that Jordan has collected at least 15 rebounds.
Jordan said he had improved his ability to tap the ball out to teammates by having them stationed outside the paint.
“Now I’m being able to see who I tip it to,” said Jordan, who is averaging 13.8 rebounds per game, including 15.9 in December. “Before, I just tried to get it out, but now I tell the guys to try to stay at the three-point line.
“I know when we shoot we want to get back and be able to set up our defense, but if there’s a chance that I can get it and tip it to us and give us a second opportunity, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Jordan had four of the Clippers’ season-high-tying 12 blocks against the Jazz, which wasn’t a surprise.
Then there was forward Matt Barnes’ career-high-tying three blocks. That was a mild shocker, particularly since two of them came while defending the athletic Gordon Hayward.
“We know how he can score the ball,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said of Hayward, “and when he was making all those moves, Matt was right there and he never gave up on plays.”
There was an upside to Spencer Hawes’ return even though his statistics were negligible.
“He moved great,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the reserve forward-center, who had two points and three rebounds in 12 minutes against the Jazz after missing the previous nine games with a bruised left knee. “You could see his timing was off. He was pump-faking on threes when he was wide open. I’m like, what the hell is that?
“His wind, he said, was better than he thought. I thought he would really struggle wind-wise because he’s been playing three on threes [during scrimmages], but he was pretty good.”
Rivers said he had devised a schedule that included a lot of practices over the next few weeks. That would be a significant departure from the last month considering his team last held an informal practice Dec. 11 and what forward Blake Griffin described as “a real lace-up-and-get-after-it, work-on-some-things practice” Dec. 5.
“We’re going to have a drastic schedule change in the way we’ve done things,’ Rivers said.
The Clippers will have two days between games this week for the first time since early this month. They will also have two days between games four more times in January.
“Hopefully we’re smart about it and we really take these practices as a time to get better and move forward a little bit,” Griffin said.