Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has been flexing his muscles at both ends… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Clippers' offense rolled along smoothly in the first quarter Saturday against Golden State, as if it were on a freshly paved, wide-open freeway. They made 10 of their first 11 shots and their offense looked unstoppable.
But one reason it did was because DeAndre Jordan got involved early.
Usually, all it takes for that to happen is a quick first-quarter basket for him.
In the Clippers' 112-104 win at Staples Center, Jordan had a few shortly after tipoff.
He made his first five shots and scored 12 points in the first 8 minutes 40 seconds.
It was a mighty good start, considering his career high is 23 points.
"It was great," said Jordan, who finished with 18 points on eight-for-11 shooting. "My teammates put me in great positions to get easy buckets and just go with it. I've been working on my post moves and just being patient and just finding open slots to score easy buckets."
It was his highest scoring effort since scoring 18 against Washington on Feb. 2, and it bumped his season scoring average up to 7.5 points.
"DJ's activity was very good and we need that," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's got to be a threat out there on the offensive end and then he's got to anchor the defense for us."
Jordan admitted that his involvement on offense early does affect his play on that end throughout games. "It does," he said. "Not only me, but for the rest of the team to see me scoring like that, which happens very seldom."
When Jordan is an impact player on offense, it no doubt makes life easier for Blake Griffin.
"It just makes them respect another inside presence," Griffin said. "He's plenty capable of doing that. He did a great job [Saturday] of just attacking and not thinking about it. That's what we need from him."
With the Clippers in the thick of a seeding race for playoff positioning and razor-thin close to a playoff berth, Chris Paul said he's noticed an uptick in effort.
"Everybody out here understands that," he said.
Which is partly why, Paul said, the Clippers got off to an aggressive start against Golden State.
"We just have to keep up our intensity for 48 minutes," Jordan said.
When the Clippers begin missing free throws, it can seem contagious.
It sure seemed that way against the Warriors, when they missed 16 of 30.
"It was like a snowball effect," Jordan said. "I missed a couple and then Blake missed a couple and then Kenyon Martin did, and they just started fouling us."
Griffin missed six of eight, Jordan missed three of five and Martin missed four of six.