Hack-a-DJ strategy gives Clippers’ Doc Rivers something to think about

DeAndre Jordan is having another impressive season, but at the end of close games, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is faced with the question of leaving him in the game or sitting him.

Many teams are employing the hack-a-DJ strategy, fouling Jordan and sending him to the free-throw line, where he’s struggling mightily. It’s the one part of his game that he’s not performing. He’s been so efficient offensively, the NBA’s leading rebounder (13.4 per game) and perhaps the best defensive player.

"I think every night it will be a decision. I think he handles it well when you take him out," Rivers said. "I have left him in at times too. It’s just one of those game-to-game things. He works on it. He knows it. It is something that people are going to use. I know going into every game that it is a decision I will probably have to make every night."

Jordan is making just 39.9 percent of his free throws. Against Boston on Monday, Rivers took Jordan out of the game down the stretch. The Celtics had cut the lead dangerously close, to three points, in the fourth quarter, and when Boston starting sending Jordan to the line, Rivers took him out of the game.

And Jordan is going along with whatever Rivers thinks is best.

"Honestly, it (being intentionally fouled) helps me get my scoring average up if I am making some," Jordan said. "Honestly, I don’t really think about it. The guys give me so much confidence when I go to the line. I try not to think about it as much. I obviously want to make them, but if I don’t and we go down and get a stop, the score hasn’t changed and we are still up by the same amount of points. It is Doc’s decision, whatever it may be."

Jordan made 3 of 6 free throws Monday in the Clippers 102-93 win over the Celtics. He had a typical game with a double-double of 19 points, 12 rebounds and added six blocks. Those things account for so much of the Clippers’ success this season.

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"As long as we’re defending, keep getting stops and stuff like that, we have the utmost confidence in him to shoot his free throws and to make them," Chris Paul said. "Then we just have to keep defending. What it does too, is put us in the bonus and then when they can’t foul anymore, we start driving and get to the line."

Jordan isn’t getting much love for the All-Star Game, but that’s OK with him. And J.J. Redick made a good point about Jordan being an unheralded player nationally with star teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

His value will be measured in a lucrative deal this offseason.

"I think he’s going to get a max credit this summer," Redick said. "That’s a lot of credit, right?"

Jordan is playing awfully well in this contract year. In December, he said: "I just try to keep myself busy to not think about it. I love being a Clipper. I’ve been here seven years. Hopefully I’ll be here a lot more."

He always seems to keep a relaxed, fun vibe, too. After Monday’s game, while doing a live postgame interview on Fox Sports West, Jordan was so caught up in grooving to a Tupac tune that was playing in Staples Center that he forgot the question. The video went viral, just like the hack-a-DJ strategy.

His All-Star campaign hasn’t gone viral, but if he gets snubbed for the All-Star Game, he doesn’t seem like he’d be upset.

"When I was younger, I would thing about it, but now I don’t think about it as much," Jordan said. "Blake (Griffin) sends me pictures and Facetimes when he’s there, so it’s kind of like I’m there."