Clippers center Jordan's 27-rebound night just his latest masterpiece
DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Clippers had every reason to think their game Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Dallas Mavericks, the final chapter in a five-game road trip, one where the Clippers had dropped each of the previous four games, was going to end in similar fashion.
After all, LA was without Blake Griffin and Monday's game, giving the game the makings of a bad ending to a tough trip for Doc Rivers' club. However, the Mavericks lost both starting center Tyson Chandler (left ankle) and top scorer Monta Ellis (hip) to injuries early in the game.
And without Chandler to patrol the paint for Dallas, the Mavs were forced to rely on backup big man Greg Smith, who quickly got into foul trouble, and youngster Dwight Powell, Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan had a field day in a 117-98 blowout win.
The former Texas A&M standout finished with 27 rebounds, most by an NBA player this season and second-most in Clippers history. Only Michael Cage, who brought down 30 boards in 1988, had more caroms than DJ did on Monday night at the AAC.
Jordan's strong work on the glass even led Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle to say he looked like the late, great Wilt Chamberlain against his team.
Monday's performance by the Houston native, who also had 22 points, was the second 20/20 performance of the road trip. Jordan also had 22 points and 20 boards on Feb. 2 at the Brooklyn Nets, a game the Clips lost 102-100.
Monday's performance ranks as the better of the two because LA won and it's a performance he got to enjoy on the three-hour plane ride back home on Monday night.
"This one feels a lot better because we won," Jordan said postgame. "The other one was cool, but it wasn't as fun as this one because I get to celebrate this one on a plane ride back home with a win, so that's really good and exciting."
Not only did Jordan come down with at least 20 rebounds for the fifth time this season against Dallas, but he also did so with his mother, Kimberly, in attendance after she made the trip up from the Houston area.
Jordan even did an interview with his mom postgame for Clippers TV, one which teammate Matt Barnes walked into towards the end.
"That was great, man. Anytime my family's able to come out and watch me play is always good, especially when I play well. That's a plus," Jordan said.
But now, that losing streak is officially behind the Clippers and after enjoying that win over Dallas for a few hours, LA gets back to work preparing for its final game before the NBA All-Star break, on Wednesday when the Houston Rockets visit Staples Center.
And Jordan thinks he and his teammates can build a little momentum with a second straight win heading into the break over the Rockets, who will be without Dwight Howard.
"Yeah, it was tough. We went through a little rough patch and I feel like that's where we're going to find ourselves the most, going through tough times," Jordan said. "I think we responded well tonight."
Griffin had surgery in LA on Monday for a staph infection in his elbow and is expected to miss at least the next three weeks. The Clippers had plenty of guys step up on Monday night like Jamal Crawford, who had 22 off the bench in addition to Jordan and Chris Paul, who also had 22.
As the season is almost at the mythical halfway point, LA is 2-3 in games where Jordan finishes with 20 or more boards. But the affable big man knows that more often than not, when he's doing his thing on the glass and in the paint, good things will then follow from his teammates.
"I'm engaged because I want to be able to get all the rebounds that come off. That's just my mentality now. My energy I guess is going to rub off on our team. When I'm scoring, it's definitely going to suck guys in. We all work together," Jordan said.
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