Too little, too late for DeAndre Jordan’s All-Star bid was more than enough for the Clippers.
The center won’t be going to New York this weekend for the NBA’s midseason showcase, but he was everywhere inside American Airlines Center on Monday night while helping the Clippers end their season-worst four-game losing streak.
Jordan’s massive arms and hands were all over the Clippers’ 115-98 victory over the Dallas Mavericks that salvaged a happy ending out of an otherwise grim eight-game trip that included a serious injury to Blake Griffin, a hefty fine levied against Chris Paul and a humdrum 3-5 record.
Jordan snagged a career-high 27 rebounds, the most taken by any NBA player this season, to go with a season-high-tying 22 points and three blocks. His rebound total was three short of tying Michael Cage’s single-game franchise record of 30 for the Clippers.
The Clippers needed the boost after learning before the game that Griffin would be sidelined for at least three weeks because of a surgically removed staph infection in his right elbow. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers used what seemed like some reverse psychology when he addressed his team about the absence of its leading scorer.
“Before the game, Doc said we had all the excuses to quit and not come out with the right energy and the right mind-set,” Jordan said. “But we did the exact opposite.”
Jordan has collected two 20-20 games over his last five after having none in the first 481 games of his career. Too bad Rivers wasn’t able to include that factoid in his recent pitch to fellow Western Conference coaches that Jordan deserved to be selected as an All-Star reserve.
“It’s amazing to me that no one notices DeAndre Jordan,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how you can get 22 and 27 and no one notices.”
Paul finished with 25 points and 13 assists and shooting guard Jamal Crawford scored 22 points off the bench for the Clippers (34-19), who face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at Staples Center in their final game before the All-Star break.
The Clippers were bolstered by the return of shooting guard J.J. Redick, who played for the first time in a week after being sidelined by back spasms, and forward Glen Davis, who had left in the second quarter of their loss against Oklahoma City on Sunday after experiencing his own bout with back spasms.
The Mavericks, already missing point guard Rajon Rondo because of a broken nose, ended the game far more short-handed than the Clippers. Center Tyson Chandler (left ankle) and guard Monta Ellis (left hip) both left in the first quarter and did not return.
Chandler’s absence helped clear space for Jordan, who capitalized while playing in front of his mother. Jordan joked afterward that she would be able to find something he could have done better, though that was hard to imagine.
“He’s making people re-think that All-Star snub,” Clippers forward Matt Barnes said. “When he plays like that, we’re a hard team to beat.”
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