TEAM USA SCRIMMAGE REPORT
LAS VEGAS – It was only 23 minutes and change, but DeAndre Jordan illustrated what has made him one of the most impressive young players in the NBA at USA Basketball’s 2013 Showcase at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
Jordan started for USA’s White squad in Thursday’s intra-squad scrimmage, helping lead his team to a 128-106 victory over USA Blue in the capstone event for the four-day mini-camp.
Afterwards USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said, “We learned something every day from watching these guys. And this was just another day in the life of our group. Some guys stepped it up and some really had great games today and others maybe not quite as good. But this is not focused on the game. It’s about time together and about getting acquainted.”
Jordan acquainted himself with USA Basketball well. He finished with 10 points, a game-high nine rebounds, two blocks and played most of the first and third quarters in front of numerous Team USA personnel and former Olympians, including superstar NBA teammate Chris Paul.
Here is a breakdown of Jordan’s playing time for the evening:
First quarter: 12:00 to 3:00 (9:00)
Jordan started alongside three 2013 All-Stars (Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday). It took nearly three minutes for him to get his first touch after Irving and George turned the ball over attempting to slip passes to him between two defenders on pick and rolls.
“We tried to pick up our intensity after the first quarter,” said Irving, who had a game-high 23 points on 6-of-8 shooting. “We had too many turnovers.”
Jordan’s first shot attempt was knocked away before he even got it up by the Blue team’s Greg Monroe. But he went on to score six points in the period, including a pair of layups and knocking down both free throw attempts.
On defensive end, Jordan traced Dion Waiters’ steps to violently swat away a layup attempt and after Waiters missed the put-back attempt, Jordan grabbed the rebound and ignited a fast break. He was active throughout his entire nine-minute stretch and many of his defensive calls were audible over the somewhat tempered crowd inside Thomas & Mack Center.
He was replaced by Andre Drummond with 3:00 left in the period. Here is Jordan’s first-quarter line: 6 points (2-for-2 FG, 2-for-2 FT), 1 rebound, 1 block and 1 turnover.
Second quarter 2:02 to halftime (2:02)
The plan seemed to be that Jordan would play the first nine minutes of odd numbered quarters and the final three minutes or so to close out each half. He approached the scorer’s table with more than three minutes remaining in the second, but was forced to wait for a dead ball as he crouched down blowing air into his closed fists to stay warm.
Three into his appearance, he dove to the basket, caught a feed inside and was fouled on a layup attempt. He sank his first free throw, but missed the second. Later in the quarter he missed a pair of free throws after he was fouled by Jazz big man Derrick Favors, making him 3-for-6 from the line in the first half. He also missed a put-back attempt after an extra bounce on a missed jumper caused him to catch the ball on the way down. Here is Jordan’s halftime line: 7 points (2-for-3 FG, 3-for-6 FT), 2 rebounds, 1 block and 1 turnover.
Third quarter: 12:00 to 3:02 (8:58)
This quarter was all about rebounding. Jordan grabbed six of his 10 boards in less than nine minutes of action. He added three points, including a spinning layup, and proved a powerful opponent for Pistons’ forward Greg Monroe, who Jordan overpowered on a two occasions, one leading to Monroe wrapping him up to prevent an easy hoop.
Jordan also got the best of Monroe on a face-up jumper attempt that he swatted back to Monroe along the baseline. Monroe recovered and spun off Jordan for a layup, but the timing of the original block was impeccable. Here is Jordan’s line after three quarters: 10 points (3-for-6 FG, 4-for-8 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
Fourth quarter: 3:09 to 0:00 (3:09)
For one of the only times on the night, Jordan was matched up with DeMarcus Cousins, the mercurial Sacramento Kings center who played just 16 minutes and had six points. On his only field goal attempt of the final 3:09, Jordan backed down Cousins and spun to the rim but missed a layup too strong off the back iron.
Later, he grabbed his team-high ninth board and threw a quick outlet pass ahead to Chandler Parsons for a fast-break layup. The final play was indicative of Jordan’s entire night. He was energetic, active, engaged. He looked ready to start the NBA season and it is only late July.
“I learned a lot about leadership,” Jordan said of his four days with Team USA, “how to work hard and about putting your ego aside and really playing for what’s on the front of your chest.”
Here’s Jordan’s final line: 10 points (3-for-7 FG, 4-for-8 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover in 23:09.