Jordan emerges as backbone of title-hungry Clippers

Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:00pm EST
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By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After years of playing the third wheel in a trio of standouts DeAndre Jordan has quietly become the backbone of a Los Angeles Clippers team eager to keep their window of contention from slamming shut.

With Chris Paul aging and Blake Griffin ailing, it's Jordan's seven-foot disruption in the paint that is now the franchise's most dependable asset.

"(Jordan) is a beast," Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel told reporters after his team's loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.

"The shooters they have on the floor ... you bring attention to them and it leaves DeAndre open on the glass. This is why they are a good basketball team, they have a lot of weapons."

Jordan, 28, has long been the weapon most taken for granted in Los Angeles. A two-time NBA All-Defensive team member who twice lead the league in rebounds, Jordan's skill set rarely makes headlines.

Feeling underappreciated, Jordan memorably agreed to sign with Dallas in 2015 before the Clippers managed to woo him back.

On Wednesday, Jordan passed Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal with his 36th career 20-rebound game and moved into a tie with Kevin Garnett for ninth on the all-time list.

"It is an honor to be in the same category as those guys in accomplishing something,” Jordan said. "But I want to be in the same category with them with the (championship) ring."   Continued...

Dec 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in the first quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports