Nuggets face Clippers to complete tough back-to-back
Denver looking to rebound from home loss Saturday night
Playing alongside two of the NBA's top scorers, DeAndre Jordan may sometimes get overlooked.
His efforts on the defensive end, though, are certainly of note.
Jordan tries to continue his stellar play and help the Los Angeles Clippers match their longest win streak of the season Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets.
While Blake Griffin (20.4 points per game) and Chris Paul (19.5 ppg) continue to garner most of the acclaim, Jordan has quietly emerged as one of the league's top interior defenders. The 6-foot-11 center is tied for second in the NBA with an average of 13.0 rebounds and tied for fourth with 2.2 blocks per game.
"I think he's just grown," coach Doc Rivers told the Clippers' official website. "He had to embrace (his role). When you look at our team and you look at the weapons on our team, he had to look at where he would make his biggest impact, and his biggest impact is doing all the other stuff."
Jordan scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting to go along with 20 boards and five blocks as Los Angeles (18-9) beat New Orleans 108-95 on Wednesday for its third consecutive win. Griffin added 21 points and 10 rebounds while Jared Dudley scored 20.
"That's a part of my job to be energetic and just be a spark for us on the defensive end," Jordan said. "Offensively, set picks and roll as hard as a can just to try to free guys up. If I'm not playing well offensively or defensively, I can still play with energy and that spark and intensity.
"Anything that (Rivers) asks of me, I'm going to work my butt off to try and make it happen."
The Clippers have won four straight twice this season, most recently Nov. 23-29.
They've taken five of six home matchups against the Nuggets (14-11). Denver, though, won the last two overall, 92-78 on Jan. 1 and 107-92 on March 7.
The Nuggets are looking to get back on track after falling 103-99 to Phoenix on Friday. Denver, which shot a season-worst 23.5 percent (4 of 17) from 3-point range, dropped to 3-5 over its last eight after blowing a 21-point lead.
"I'm not very happy, and I'll take the hit for tonight's game, for allowing some things in practice to carry over into the game," coach Brian Shaw said. "When it was going good for us in the first half, we were all smiles and played as if the game was over and didn't have a second half to play."
Ty Lawson, averaging a team-leading 17.8 points, was held to 13 on 3-of-11 shooting and committed five turnovers while playing through the flu. J.J. Hickson posted 13 points and 14 boards for his third consecutive double-double.
Clippers forward Matt Barnes is set to return after missing a month while recovering from a torn retina in his left eye. Barnes is averaging 18.0 points and shooting 51.8 percent in his last four games against Denver.
Griffin, meanwhile, has been limited to 13.5 during a four-game stretch in the series, well below his career mark of 20.4.
The Clippers are 11-1 when Dudley scores at least 10 points compared to 7-8 when he doesn't.
Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton should be available after serving a one-game suspension for throwing a punch in Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma City.
While Denver is 7-9 against fellow Western Conference opponents, the Clippers are 12-3.
NUGGETS AT CLIPPERS
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: Staples Center, Los Angeles.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950
LOS ANGELES (18-9)
F Jared Dudley
F Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan
G Jamal Crawford
G Chris Paul
DENVER: Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) are out.
LOS ANGELES: J.J. Redick (fractured right hand/torn ligament in right wrist); Reggie Bullock (sprained left ankle); Maalik Wayns (torn meniscus left knee) are out.
Denver has played the Clippers solidly in Los Angeles in recent years, having gone 5-7 at STAPLES Center over the past seven seasons . . . The Nuggets have won 16 of the last 25 games overall against the Clippers since 2006-07, with seven of the nine losses coming on the road in Los Angeles (11-2 at home, 6-7 on road) . . . Denver has claimed six season series wins over Los Angeles in the last nine seasons … The 2010-11 season marked the first 2-2 series split between these teams since the 2003-04 season, not to mention only the fourth since 1993-94 . . . The Nuggets currently own an all-time winning percentage of .556 (84-67) against the Clippers, which stands as the best mark for Denver against any opponent in the NBA with at least 100 meetings between them.