Nuggets-Clippers Preview

Playing alongside two of the NBA’s top scorers, DeAndre Jordan

may sometimes get overlooked.

His efforts on the defensive end, though, are certainly of


Jordan tries to continue his stellar play and help the Los

Angeles Clippers match their longest win streak of the season

Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets.

While Blake Griffin (20.4 points per game) and Chris Paul (19.5

ppg) continue to garner most of the acclaim, Jordan has quietly

emerged as one of the league’s top interior defenders. The

6-foot-11 center is tied for second in the NBA with an average of

13.0 rebounds and tied for fourth with 2.2 blocks per game.

“I think he’s just grown,” coach Doc Rivers told the Clippers’

official website. “He had to embrace (his role). When you look at

our team and you look at the weapons on our team, he had to look at

where he would make his biggest impact, and his biggest impact is

doing all the other stuff.”

Jordan scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting to go along with 20

boards and five blocks as Los Angeles (18-9) beat New Orleans

108-95 on Wednesday for its third consecutive win. Griffin added 21

points and 10 rebounds while Jared Dudley scored 20.

“That’s a part of my job to be energetic and just be a spark for

us on the defensive end,” Jordan said. “Offensively, set picks and

roll as hard as a can just to try to free guys up. If I’m not

playing well offensively or defensively, I can still play with

energy and that spark and intensity.

“Anything that (Rivers) asks of me, I’m going to work my butt

off to try and make it happen.”

The Clippers have won four straight twice this season, most

recently Nov. 23-29.

They’ve taken five of six home matchups against the Nuggets

(14-11). Denver, though, won the last two overall, 92-78 on Jan. 1

and 107-92 on March 7.

The Nuggets are looking to get back on track after falling

103-99 to Phoenix on Friday. Denver, which shot a season-worst 23.5

percent (4 of 17) from 3-point range, dropped to 3-5 over its last

eight after blowing a 21-point lead.

“I’m not very happy, and I’ll take the hit for tonight’s game,

for allowing some things in practice to carry over into the game,”

coach Brian Shaw said. “When it was going good for us in the first

half, we were all smiles and played as if the game was over and

didn’t have a second half to play.”

Ty Lawson, averaging a team-leading 17.8 points, was held to 13

on 3-of-11 shooting and committed five turnovers while playing

through the flu. J.J. Hickson posted 13 points and 14 boards for

his third consecutive double-double.

Clippers forward Matt Barnes is set to return after missing a

month while recovering from a torn retina in his left eye. Barnes

is averaging 18.0 points and shooting 51.8 percent in his last four

games against Denver.

Griffin, meanwhile, has been limited to 13.5 during a four-game

stretch in the series, well below his career mark of 20.4.

The Clippers are 11-1 when Dudley scores at least 10 points

compared to 7-8 when he doesn’t.

Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton should be available after

serving a one-game suspension for throwing a punch in Tuesday’s

loss to Oklahoma City.

While Denver is 7-9 against fellow Western Conference opponents,

the Clippers are 12-3.