After Game 4 we weren’t quite sure what DeAndre Jordan would show up.
After Game 5 we can make the argument that DeAndre Jordan is the most important on the Clippers roster and holds the key to a Championship run in his massive hands.
No player on the Clippers roster was more distraught over the Donald Sterling controversy than DeAndre Jordan. Teammates on the plane after Game 4 described Jordan as “catatonic”. Jordan “played” in Game 4, but he will admit that he didn’t really show up. He scored zero points, while grabbing six rebounds, and generally looked like his mind was not focused on playing basketball. Jordan isn’t to blame. The circumstances were unusual, to say the least. Jordan took the blame for not giving maximum effort after the game and was determined to make a difference in Game 5.
“I felt like our focus was off in Game 4,” Jordan said. “I cannot be unfocused. I feel like my energy is big for our team, and I can’t come out and not give us 110% in energy and effort.”
Well, Jordan backed up his statement and came up with inarguably the best game of his career. Jordan scored 25 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, blocked 4 shots, and simply took over the basketball game on both ends of the court. Jordan was alive, active, and focused. Jordan keyed the 10-point Clippers victory down the stretch by hitting 6-8 free throws in the fourth quarter as Mark Jackson directed his Golden State Warriors to employ the Hack-a-Jordan strategy. Those free throws widened the margin for the Clippers, even as the Warriors kept creeping back into the game.
Going forward, this is the DeAndre Jordan that the Clippers are going to need if they have dreams of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June. But first, the Clippers must finish off the Warriors at Oracle Arena in Game 6. There is nothing the Clippers want to see less than a Game 7 with Stephen Curry jacking up threes and getting “en fuego”.
While Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin are the stars of the Clippers postseason run, it is Jordan who has the ability to put them over the top. Chris Paul is going to do his thing. Blake Griffin is going to continue massacring teams offensively, and Rivers is going to continue coaching brilliantly. However, if DeAndre Jordan is playing like he did in Game 5, the Clippers might be unstoppable. There is no other team in the Western Conference that can handle a three-headed tandem like Paul, Griffin, and Jordan if they’re all playing well at the same time. The Thunder don’t have the size, the Grizzlies are too slow, the Spurs are too old, the Rockets don’t play defense, the Trail Blazers don’t have the experience.
If the Clippers are playing with clear minds and DeAndre Jordan is leading them on both sides of the ball, watch out world.