Clippers center DeAndre Jordan dunks over Boston center Nenad Krstic during… (Elsa / Getty Images )
Reporting from Boston — If anything, DeAndre Jordan was getting too much information before hitting what would be the biggest free throws of his life in the Clippers' 108-103 win Wednesday against Boston.
On top of that, there was another voice, one urging him to do something before he went to the line with 15.6 seconds remaining and the Clippers clinging to a four-point lead.
It was the Celtics' Rajon Rondo, putting yet another thought in Jordan's mind, which he was trying to de-clutter at TD Garden.
"Rondo was telling me to tie my shoe: 'Tie your shoe. Tie your shoe.' I was saying to myself, 'Don't look down. Don't look down,' " Jordan said, grinning.
He was trying so hard not to stress. His new teammate, point guard Mo Williams, told him not to rush getting to the line and his best friend on the team, running mate Blake Griffin, assured him he would knock both of them down.
That he did.
Indeed, this was no small feat. Jordan entered the game shooting 43.6% from the free-throw line and made three of seven against the Celtics, one miss especially cringe-worthy.
But he made the two counting the most and agreed they were the biggest ones in his "entire life." That allowed Jordan, and the Clippers, to exhale, slightly, with a six-point cushion and not have to face questions about blowing a 23-point lead against Boston.
Jordan scored a season-high 21 points, added nine rebounds and helped contribute to a stellar defensive effort on the Celtics' Kevin Garnett, who missed 14 shots. Williams had his best game in his short tenure as a Clipper, tying a season high with 28 points, including hitting five three-pointers, and Randy Foye added 12 assists.
All this came on a relatively quiet night from Blake Griffin, who had a rare non-double-double outing with 12 points and seven rebounds. He was four of 14 from the field overall, and two of nine in the second half.
"I didn't play well at all," Griffin said.
But he quickly moved on to the effort and play of his teammates, saying: "Ryan [Gomes] has been hitting big shots. Mo is hitting big shots and Randy. DeAndre finished inside. It was just a collective team effort.
"They [the Celtics] have a good defense. But I missed some shots that I normally hit. It was one of those things but I'm OK with it, especially because of the win."
Said Celtics Coach Doc Rivers: "If you had told me DeAndre Jordan would have 21, I'd have not been very happy about that. Because he just did it with his energy."
This was the fifth game Williams has played with the Clippers (25-40), and it happens to have coincided with their first four-game winning streak of the season. This was the Celtics' first loss in six games.
That's the big picture. On a personal level, Williams has made it his mission to help Jordan.
"That's my guy," Williams said. "That's my project, I've got to make sure he's involved in the game because he gives us so much when he's involved in the game. When he's not, it shows. The main thing is to get him involved in the game early and he's going to give you a lot."
Jordan went scoreless Monday at Charlotte and Williams put his reputation on the line, more or less.
"I talked to him and let him know I'm going to get it together," Williams said, smiling. "I'm glad it happened the next game and he can believe me now when I talk.
"He played great, man. He's so special as far as his attributes at his position. Teams don't want to see him."