DeAndre Jordan announced it 90 seconds into the game, when he missed a layup only to snatch the rebound for a vicious dunk.
The NBA’s iron man was his sturdy self again Monday night after a bout of pneumonia forced the Clippers center to miss two games, ending the league’s longest active consecutive games played streak at 360.
The only thing more impressive than Jordan’s stretch of sustained health might have been his will to keep playing while sick.
“I was going to try to play [the previous two games], but it was tough,” Jordan said after the Clippers’ 140-132 victory over the Houston Rockets in overtime. “I couldn’t stand up, so I knew I wouldn’t be very effective. It was pretty bad.”
Jordan looked lively while snagging 16 points to go with 15 rebounds in 41 minutes against the Rockets, numbers that all exceeded his season averages. His presence could also be felt on the perimeter, where the Clippers repeatedly made open shots on the way to a franchise-record 22 three-pointers.
“With the threat of DeAndre at the rim, you’re worried about the lob all the time,” Rockets interim Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We were just late, we were trying to protect the basket and so we were late getting out to them” at the three-point line.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, mindful of Jordan’s recent illness, subbed him out for Cole Aldrich midway through the first quarter, much earlier than usual.
“The thing is,” Rivers said of Jordan before the game, “he’s an energy player, so what I’m going to have to judge is, does he have any energy? And if he does, he’ll keep playing.”
Jordan kept playing. He logged 11 minutes in the second quarter, 10 minutes in the third quarter, seven minutes in the fourth quarter and all five minutes of the overtime.
On the other hand …
The news wasn’t quite as promising when it came to the Clippers’ other top frontcourt player.
Rivers said Blake Griffin was “looking a lot better” in his recovery from a quadriceps injury but did not expect the All-Star forward to play Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Clippers start a five-game trip.
“I personally doubt it, but I know he wants to,” Rivers said. “He’s going to give it a try, but I personally doubt he makes that game. I think there’s a better chance now he’ll play on the road trip, I just can’t tell you when.”
The Clippers will have four games left on the trip after playing the Cavaliers. They have fared surprisingly well without Griffin, winning 10 of 11 games.
Jordan couldn’t seem to believe what he was hearing.
As Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick informed reporters there had been only preliminary discussions about the NBA’s most accurate shooter participating in the three-point contest as part of All-Star weekend next month in Toronto, Jordan interrupted.
“They haven’t asked you?” Jordan inquired as Redick sat beside him in an interview room.
“Well there’s been discussions, but I don’t know,” Redick said.
“He better,” Jordan concluded.
It would seem to make sense. Redick is shooting an NBA-best 50% from three-point range after making nine of 12 shots from that distance while scoring a career-high 40 points against the Rockets. Not that it has led to any clarity about his role in All-Star weekend.
“It’s one of those things I don’t know what’s going on, really,” Redick said. “There’s a lot of variables, from what I’ve been told.”
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch