BEST OF 2012-13: DEANDRE JORDAN'S TOP 5 BLOCKS
Since becoming a starter early in the 2010-11 season DeAndre Jordan has more than 350 blocked shots. He was 16th in the NBA last season in blocks per game (1.37). The sixth-year center has been called the anchor of the Clippers’ defense on numerous occasions and new Clipper Antawn Jamison said Jordan is one of the most important players on the roster.
“He is a piece that we need,” Jamison said after he signed on Aug. 28. “If he’s in there blocking shots, dunking on people, bringing that energy, that positive energy, that makes us even better.”
Perhaps nothing gets the team more energized defensively than Jordan’s blocked shots, which often come in emphatic fashion. Here is a list of Jordan’s five best blocks from 2012-13, which were determined by impact on the game, skill level and, of course, the overall “wow” factor:
5. Feb. 8, 2013 at Miami: Fit for a King
The two-time defending champion Miami Heat are arguably the deadliest team in the league in transition when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are involved. But during their Feb. 8 meeting in Miami, the Clippers get back on defense in a hurry. After a long rebound off a missed 3-pointer Wade finds James trailing the initial push and James weaves his way to the rim where Jordan meets him. As James, a three-time MVP, throws his body into Jordan’s chest Jordan absorbs the contact and practically swallows the layup attempt with both hands, knocking James to the ground in the process.
4. Apr. 17, 2013 at Sacramento: Me Oh My Cousins
Mercurial Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had an effective night against the Clippers in the regular-season finale. However, Jordan got the best of him here. A few minutes after Cousins fooled Jordan with a similar head fake and spin move in the paint. This time Jordan didn’t bite. He waited patiently for Cousins to make his move and as Cousin’s spins toward the right block swats the shot into the third row with his right hand. It was the second time Jordan rejected Cousins on the night and was his 112th and final block of the 2012-13 regular season.
3. Nov. 17, 2012 vs. Chicago: Cleaning Up Chi-Town
In a blowout victory early in the season against the Bulls, Jordan came one shy of his career high in blocks. He tallied seven on the day, sending away a shot once every four minutes. There was a nice one against Carlos Boozer, another against Luol Deng on a floater in the lane and yet another on a put-back attempt by Joakim Noah. Still, the best came with 3:04 left in the second quarter. Jamal Crawford made a 3-pointer off one leg on one end and seconds later Kirk Hinrich drives left past Chris Paul. Jordan rotates from the left side of the lane to the right to swat Hinrich’s layup off the backboard. Not only did he protect the rim, but he kept the play alive and saved it along the sideline.
2. Jan. 15, 2013 at Houston: Bump, Set, Spike
Contrary to the previous play, Jordan does not keep this one in play. But who cares? While the best basketball play is keeping a block alive to ignite a potential fast-break basket, the more exciting of the two options is arguably when the ball gets rocketed into the stands with the kind of emphatic slap reminiscent of a volleyball spike. Here Jordan shows his ability to help from the weak side and cover up for a teammate as well. With Caron Butler caught in a mismatch against Patrick Patterson, Jordan waits for Patterson to dribble three times backing Butler down. As Patterson makes his move to attempt a jump hook over his left shoulder, Jordan rotates, times his jump perfectly and spikes the ball into the Rockets’ bench. It doesn’t hurt that Jordan did it in front of his hometown fans in Houston.
1. Dec. 3, 2012 at Utah: Game-saving Swat
Jordan had far more athletic dunks and ones that may have been more aesthetically pleasing. However, Jordan’s block of Al Jefferson’s floater with the game on the line was by far the most important. It was the early stages of the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak, a game in Utah that swung back and forth before the Clippers grabbed a two-point lead with less than a minute remaining. Randy Foye found Paul Millsap open and Jordan scrambled to recover, rushing to Millsap. Jefferson simultaneously cut down the center of the lane and Millsap quickly passed it to him. Jordan switched back to Jefferson and knocked Jefferson’s flip shot “out of the sky” and into the right corner where the Clippers retained possession in front of their bench with 24.9 seconds to go and a 101-99 lead.