DeAndre Jordan helps Clippers finish Jazz, 88-75, despite thumb injury
DeAndre Jordan was bent over in pain, and a concerned Chris Paul had placed his hand on the 6-foot-11 center’s back while the rest of the Clippers looked on late in the third quarter.
Jordan had suffered a sprained right thumb, and though the injury wasn’t serious enough to prevent him from returning in the fourth quarter, it did cause the Clippers some momentary anxiety in their home opener.
Ultimately, Jordan would help the Clippers put away the Utah Jazz, 88-75, on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. But an injury to one of their Big Three players was not what the Clippers had envisioned at the start of what they hope will be a successful season.
“I was worried because I saw the swelling in his hand,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “When it’s that quick, that’s never a good thing. Then when he went back in, I started feeling a little better.”
Jordan didn’t speak to the media after the game, but the Clippers said an X-ray of his thumb was negative, revealing no broken bones.
Before Jordan left the locker room, he had a hard time putting on his socks and shoes because of the swelling around the base of his hand.
Jordan was trying to grab an offensive rebound when his hand hit the hand of Utah’s George Hill. Jordan grabbed his right hand and doubled over.
The left-handed Jordan eventually went to the bench to get black tape wrapped around his hand and thumb.
Jordan would finish the game with seven points and 16 rebounds, but he appeared limited after he returned and didn’t look as if he was using his right hand much.
But with help from Blake Griffin (18 points, 10 rebounds) and reserve guard Austin Rivers (19 points), Jordan didn’t have to do too much the rest of the way.
His team was able to improve to 2-0 mainly because it played strong defense for the second straight game.
Blake Griffin lands on Clippers teammates as he dives for a loose ball during first half action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers forward Blake Griffin fouls Jazz guard George Hill as they fight for a loose ball during second quarter action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has swelling in his right thumb after slamming it against the hand of a Utah Jazz player on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Jazz center Rudy Gobert pulls down a rebound over Clippers forward Blake Griffin.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan doubles over in pain after spraining his thumb early in the second half.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan slams home two points.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Chris Paul navigates his way through the Jazz defense.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers guard Raymond Felton tries to shoot over Jazz forward Derrick Favors during first half action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Clippers teammates Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin stand for the National Anthem before a game against the Utah Jazz.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
The Clippers held the Jazz to 39.7% shooting. Hill (18 points) and Dante Exum (10) were the only Utah players to score in double figures.
“I think the defense was pretty good,” said Paul, who finished with nine points and nine assists. “J.J. [Redick] and I were talking about how well our second team played on offense, while our first unit needs to get things clicking a little bit. Our team defense has been pretty consistent through these first two games, though.”
So has the play of the Clippers’ reserves. Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford (12 points) led a second unit that produced 42 of the team’s 88 points.
Marreese Speights didn’t score much (four points), but he had four rebounds and took several charges on defense. Wesley Johnson scored just three points, but he had six rebounds and two blocked shots.
“I thought the bench again came in and gave us another lift,” Doc Rivers said.
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner
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