Sports Out West

DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick key to Clippers’ improvement

Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night’s game against the Houston Rockets was the best example of what the Los Angeles Clippers should look like.

It was a complete effort, both offensively and defensively. There were stand-out performances in the Clippers’ best defensive effort of the season thus far. Despite the loss of one of the Clippers’ best wing defenders in Matt Barnes, the Rockets’ James Harden (yes, he was hurt) was restricted to a 4-of-15 shooting night.

The Clippers’ 107 points was standard affair. So was Chris Paul‘s double-double (his seventh straight) and Blake Griffin‘s 22 points.

Now, here’s why Clipper Nation should be excited. It’s all about DeAndre Jordan‘s development and J.J Redick’s increased participation. First off, Redick’s involvement in the “motion” offense is integral for the Clippers’ scoring. He is the team’s best shooting option (sorry Jamal Crawford and Paul). He is easily one of the best players on the team without the ball with how many open corner three-pointers are available to him. He shot 15 times, tied for second-most for the team’s output in the game, and scored an efficient 22 points. So, his increased involvement will only improve the team.

Jordan’s development was the highlight of the offseason talk and it’s paying off. He’s outplaying centers and staying in the crunch time despite the “Hack-a-Jordan” strategy. What’s more is his dominance on both the offensive and defensive rebounding with 18 last night (7 offensive, 11 defensive) and plenty of plays that put counter-part Dwight Howard‘s effort to shame. The great night was especially important given his past matchup history against Howard:

 12 games played, 22.2 minutes, 5.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.6 blocks per game

To say last night’s line of 12 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks line was an improvement would be an understatement. It was drastic change. His movement without the ball for putback dunks, defensive rebounds, and weak-side blocks were immaculate. No longer are the talks for “Defensive Player of the Year” just for show, Jordan’s putting on the real deal. 

Speaking of putback dunks:

 The Clippers are improving, the panic should be subsided, and it’s thanks to the two players that were definite X-factors before this season began — Redick and Jordan.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.