FRIDAY FIVE: JORDAN BEST BLOCKS OF THE PLAYOFFS
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
DeAndre Jordan finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and narrowly missed out on making his first All-Defensive team after a stellar regular season. Jordan kept it up in the Playoffs. He had 33 blocked shots in 13 games against the Warriors and Thunder and led the Clippers in rebounds. He tied the franchise record for blocks in three straight games to start the Playoffs, blocked more shots in a postseason (and a series) than any other Clipper/Brave in history and finished second in the NBA in rejections in the postseason despite being eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals.
With Jordan’s playoff performance in mind, here are his five best blocks in his 13 games of the NBA’s second season:
5. Game 3 vs. Oklahoma City, May 9, 2014. Even a player as athletic as Russell Westbrook has to think twice about getting inside against Jordan. In the first game at Staples Center of the second round, Westbrook is denied by Jordan even after beating his man and Jordan to the rim. Jordan recovers and swipes/rips the ball away from behind.
4. Game 3 at Golden State, April 24, 2014. Jordan blocked 15 shots in the first three games of the Playoffs (five in each game). Perhaps his most spectacular of the group came in Game 3 when dunk contest participant Harrison Barnes went hard to the rim and got the ball palmed by Jordan.
3. Game 1 vs. Golden State, April 19, 2014. David Lee’s start to the Warriors-Clippers series could not have gone much worse. He turned the ball over on three possessions and was rejected twice by Jordan on a fourth possession in the first quarter. Lee went up, got his shot blocked. Then tried to go right back at the rim and had it knocked away again.
2. Game 4 vs. Oklahoma City, May 11, 2014. The Clippers’ comeback in Game 4 of the Thunder series did not hit full boar until the fourth quarter, but an outstanding defensive possession at the end of the third ended in a wondrous block from Jordan. Nick Collison, who would go on to hit an important corner 3-pointer in Game 6, caught the ball with seconds left on the shot clock and Jordan helped the helper, swatting Collison’s shot into the row of seats behind the Clippers’ bench. Crazily, Reggie Jackson would hit a 3-pointer a second later and make any hope for the Clippers getting back into the game seem bleak… until about five minutes later.
1. Game 7 vs. Golden State, May 3, 2014. The block on Stephen Curry was fantastic. Jordan stalked the high-scoring Warriors guard as he made his way to the rim, trying to give Golden State a one-point lead in the final two minutes of Game 7. But after Jordan pinned Curry’s shot against the backboard, Jamal Crawford threw a long outlet pass to J.J. Redick, who in turn found Blake Griffin in the center of the lane for an alley-oop. TNT’s Reggie Miller said it was “Lob City at its finest” and it was. Defense leading to transition offense and a spectacular finish, more impressively it was in the most important game of the season.