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Clippers' DeAndre Jordan is playing with more confidence

Even in the Clippers' overtime loss at Oklahoma City, the center made plays under pressure. He finished with a double-double.

November 22, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • DeAndre Jordan goes up for a breakaway dunk during the Clippers' 106-84 win over the Spurs.
DeAndre Jordan goes up for a breakaway dunk during the Clippers' 106-84… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

BROOKLYN -- He took only eight shots against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, but Clippers center DeAndre Jordan made those count in a big way.

Perhaps more important, Jordan showed himself and his teammates during the overtime loss to the Thunder that he is taking the next step in his progression.

Jordan made four of the eight shots he took, but he made both of his field goals in the overtime period and a free throw when the game still hung in the balance.

It seemed clear that Jordan is gaining confidence in his game.

"I'm comfortable down there in the low post," Jordan said. "When your teammates trust you with the ball and to make the right basketball play, that makes you more confident."

Jordan finished the game with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.

He even turned in a key three-point play in overtime.

Jordan got the ball down low, backed down the Thunder's shot-blocking power forward Serge Ibaka and powered up for a right-handed layup.

Jordan, a left-hander, got Ibaka to foul out on the play.

Jordan made the free throw for a three-point play that pulled the Clippers to within 108-107 with 2:29 left.

"That was a big play for us, especially with Serge picking up his sixth foul," said Jordan, who is averaging 10.6 points on 66.2% shooting and 7.2 rebounds. "That was big for us to have that shot-blocker presence out of the game. I was just taking my time down there and just take what the defense gives me."

Jordan also made his presence felt on defense, getting two steals and blocking a shot.

His biggest defensive play was late in the fourth quarter when the Clippers were scrambling to come back from a nine-point deficit.

Matt Barnes had gotten a steal and passed the ball to Chris Paul, who then threw away the ball to Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin.

But as Martin tried to pass the ball ahead, Jordan hustled and stole it, tiptoeing along the sideline to stay in bounds before he passed the ball ahead to Jamal Crawford. Crawford, who was fouled and made two free throws to pull the Clippers to within four points.

Blake Griffin and Paul both ran over to Jordan and slapped high-fives with the 6-11 center.

"DJ is playing great," Paul said. "We just need him to keep staying solid like that, keep playing the way that he's playing. We don't want him to get down. We don't want him ahead of himself. He's just playing great. Like I said, he might be our most valuable player. He's just got to keep his head in the game."

Griffin better at the line

After Griffin missed his first two free throws against the Thunder, he appeared to have a more determined look on his face the next few times he went to the line.

He relied on his technique, making five of six free throws in the fourth quarter. He was five for eight from the line for the game.

"I've been practicing. I've been putting in the work," said Griffin, who's shooting 61.7% from the free-throw line this season, compared with 52.1% last season. "Now it's just about calming down and getting in the right place. I keep doing exactly what I do when I practice. And when I let them go, they feel better. I've just got to keep working."

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