DeAndre Jordan sized up his play in the season’s early going and pinpointed a deficiency for what seemed like every zero in his new four-year, $87.6-million contract.
“I’ve got to defend better, I’ve got to rebound more, I’ve got to block more shots, set more picks to get guys open and finish whenever I get the ball,” the Clippers center said Friday morning after his team’s shoot-around.
Jordan was the story of the summer in the NBA when the Clippers converged on his Houston home to help persuade him to back out of a commitment to the Dallas Mavericks, but he hasn’t been very newsworthy in the season’s first month.
His highlights include surpassing Elton Brand as the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder, and . . . it’s hard to find much else. His statistics are down across the board from last season and he’s collected only eight double-doubles, one fewer than Zaza Pachulia, the center the Mavericks scrambled to acquire after Jordan spurned them.
The player whom the Mavericks wanted to make a focal point of their offense was averaging 10.7 points and had not seemed to incorporate any new moves into his game.
Early in Friday’s game Jordan played with a vitality rarely seen this season, snagging eight rebounds in the first quarter to go with a one-handed dunk off a Chris Paul lob and a put-back dunk. He finished the game with eight points, 11 rebounds and one block in only three quarters, a step toward fulfilling his pledge to be better in all areas.
Whine vs. line
Clippers forward Blake Griffin entered the game against the Pelicans having attempted the fewest free throws among all players who have played 500 or more minutes and scored at least 350 points. Griffin also was tied with Indiana’s Paul George for the league lead with five technical fouls.
Clippers guard J.J. Redick beats Pelicans forward Alonzo Gee on a drive during their game Friday night.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers point guard Chris Paul, right, battles for a rebound along with teammates Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan as well as Pelicans guard Toney Douglas in the second half Friday night.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Pelicans forward Anthony Davis holds his right ankle after colliding with Clippers point guard Chris Paul and falling to the court.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Josh Smith protects the ball from the reach of Pelicans guard Toney Douglas while driving to the basket in the second half.(PAUL BUCK / EPA)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin loses his balance after Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson was called for a blocking foul in the first half Friday at Staples Center.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin falls to the court after Pelicans center Anthony Davis is called for a charging foul.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Lance Stephenson grabs control of a loose ball in front of Pelicans forward Alonzo Gee in the first half of a game Friday, Nov. 27.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Pelicans guard Eric Gordon attempts a shot over Clippers forward Blake Griffin in the first half.(Paul Buck / EPA)
Clippers point guard Chris Paul passes the ball while under pressure by Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (10) and center Anthony Davis (23) in the first half.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Clippers guard Austin Rivers gets past Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt for a layup in the first half.(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Rivers wouldn’t comment when asked whether Griffin needed to complain less to get more foul calls but did note that he was among a handful of players who were hard to officiate.
“They get hit hard sometimes,” Rivers said, “but they’re so strong it doesn’t look like it and they turn around and you see them [act] like, ‘I just got hit on this’ and the officials are thinking it was not that much.”
The back story
Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick said the back spasms that have sidelined him for a handful of games over the last few seasons resulted from a degenerative disk he has had since he was probably 12 or 13 years old.
His condition was detected at the rookie combine and he’s been on a maintenance plan ever since.
“It’s just varying degrees of how well you maintain it,” said Redick, who missed 31/2games earlier this month because of back issues, “but I see no reason why I won’t be able to play.”