LOS ANGELES (AP) — The steady improvement DeAndre Jordan has displayed at the offensive end during the Los Angeles Clippers’ first six preseason games has been evident to anyone who watched him struggle around the basket last season.
Jordan had another strong game Monday night with 18 points and 12 rebounds, leading the Clippers to an 88-71 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
“I worked tremendously hard with Marc Iavaroni and a number of the other coaches on my offensive game,” Jordan said. “They all said that I had it before, but they told me I needed to just slow down and take my time when I got down there under the basket.
“Last year I was a little too excited and was working too fast, but now I’m getting more comfortable and letting the game come to me,” he added. “That’s what a lot of the veterans told me to do. My teammates trust me with the ball, and that builds my confidence. That confidence has definitely helped me in the preseason, and hopefully it will carry over to the regular season.”
Blake Griffin finished with 14 points, seven boards and six assists for the Clippers (3-3), and Chris Paul had 11 points, nine assists and only one turnover during a team-high 26 minutes.
“We’re doing OK, but we’ve still got to build on the defensive end,” Paul said. “I think we’ve showed the capability of scoring at high levels every night, but one thing I kept saying at halftime was that we can’t rely on that. The good teams in this league rely on defense night in and night out, and that’s what we’ve got to do. We have to keep the pressure on. I wish effort was enough to win in this league, but it’s not. We still have to play smart.”
Coach Vinny Del Negro sat all of his starters throughout the fourth quarter after Los Angeles built a 79-53 lead. The Clippers outscored Golden State 24-2 in the points-off-turnovers department over the first three quarters, committing only five turnovers while forcing 19 by the Warriors.
“I thought it was the first time in a long time that we looked like a bad team,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We didn’t rebound the basketball, we didn’t take care of the basketball, we didn’t execute, and we took the path of least resistance. It’s embarrassing.
“We’re a much better basketball team than we played like tonight, but it’s not a setback,” Jackson added. “We’ve been riding a pretty high wave and things have been going great. So tonight was a good experience for us. We’ll see how it feels to see what happened when you decide to stray away from who we are and why we’ve been so successful.”
Jarrett Jack had 14 points and David Lee added 12 points and nine rebounds for the wounded Warriors (5-2), who were without Andris Biedrins because of tightness in his groin and Stephen Curry due to a sore right ankle. Center Andrew Bogut continues to recover from a fractured left ankle that occurred last January while he was with Milwaukee, and the Warriors have set no timetable for his return to the lineup.
“We’re patient and we’re listening to the doctors,” Jackson said. “He’s working hard, he’s getting rehab and we’ll put him out on the floor when he’s a hundred percent. But we’re in no rush because we understand how important he is to this basketball team.”
Jordan paced the Clippers to a 52-39 halftime lead with 13 points and eight rebounds. The Warriors were trailing 70-45 when reserve swingman Jeremy Tyler fouled Griffin in the lane on a delayed slam-dunk attempt. Tyler made a move toward Griffin and received a technical foul. Paul, Jordan and Clippers teammate Caron Butler all went over to Tyler and calmed him down before Griffin took his free throws.
Los Angeles never trailed, building a 41-25 margin with 4 minutes left in the half and getting 16 of its first 18 field goals off assists. Golden State’s bench started out a collective 0 for 9 from the field and finished 9 for 37 overall as the Clippers’ reserves outscored their Warriors counterparts 32-22. NOTES: Jerry West, who has a statue of himself right outside Staples Center commemorating his Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, attended the game. He currently is a member of the Warriors’ executive board. … In a poll of NBA general managers released by the league on Monday, Paul was voted the best point guard (69.0 percent) and the best team leader (27.6). Injured teammate Chauncey Billups got the nod for which player would make the best head coach someday (20.7). … Grant Hill and Lamar Odom didn’t play for the Clippers because of knee issues. When Hill plays his third game of the regular season, it will be his 1,000th in the NBA. Had it not been for a rash of debilitating injuries, the 18-year veteran would be approaching 1,500 by now. … Jackson has more seasons of NBA playing experience (17) than any other current head coach in the league. Two of them were with the Clippers, including a trip to the playoffs in 1993.