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DeAndre Jordan working to improve free-throw shooting

CLIPPERS FYI

The center is working to improve on a woeful 38.5 free-throw shooting percentage in his rookie season, spending hours at the gym in the off-season trying to improve.

October 06, 2009|Lisa Dillman

It takes a village to raise a free-throw shooting percentage.

Or something like that.

But advice and affirmation from learned elders and helpful teammates can go only so far when you are flirting with sub-Shaq-like numbers.

The Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, mindful of the grim 38.5% free-throw shooting in his rookie season, got his 6-foot-11 self into the gym in the summer.

And stayed in the gym.

"I'm working on my free throws. A lot, a lot," Jordan said. "At the beginning of the summer, I had to make 10 in a row after I worked out to actually leave. The first couple of days it was tough. I would be here, like, an hour.

"I'd get to nine, like, eight times and missed the 10th in a row, like twirling the ball out. I'd be kicking a ball all the way over there. I'd have to stick with it and the time would get shorter and shorter."

He went six for nine from the line Sunday in the Clippers' opening preseason game at Oakland, a 108-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Jordan had his own eye-catching numbers: 22 points and 10 rebounds.

"It was a good progression from the camp that he's had so far," said Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy.

Jordan was getting plenty of feedback from his teammates, part teasing, part praise.

Al Thornton leaned in on Jordan's conversation Monday after Clippers practice, and reported: "He's playing his [butt] off . . . Gotta love it."

Jordan: "That's my guy, Al Thornton."

Increased confidence has helped Jordan from the line.

"I think that's what it was," he said. "Now when I go to the line, I'm like, 'OK, I'm going to make this one.' And if not, I'd get the next chance to make another free throw."

Injury update

Marcus Camby, backup point guard Sebastian Telfair and free agent Taj Gray were all fit enough to resume practice Monday.

No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin (sore left knee) has increased his activity but still has not been cleared for contact in practice.

That is expected to happen later in the week and Griffin could be ready, if all goes well, to play Friday against Portland at Staples Center. "He's dying to get in there right now," Dunleavy said.

Jordan is amused by Griffin's increasing frustration.

"It's so funny," Jordan said. "If a kid is sick or he gets in trouble he has detention. He's just sitting around here. He's just watching like his mom told him he can't go outside and play with everyone else."

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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