The West May Have A New Elite Big Man; Durant Shuts Down Chicago

11.09.12 6 years ago
Everybody has a few albums they know of where it was like Midas was controlling the mic, the mixing booth and the beats, all at once. Half the album in you’re still nodding your head so much people around you are just assuming you have a tic. Then the inspiration falls off and the last half is just OK — it completes the album but it can’t hold a candle to the revelation you just heard for the first half hour. That was the Clippers’ game Thursday night against Portland on the road. The master of those can’t-look-away first cuts? DeAndre Jordan. Yeah, it was a 103-90 victory by the best team in Los Angeles right now, but the Clippers gave back all but four of what was a 20-point lead in the second half because the Blazers just outworked them on defense once they found a mismatch. LA had the Blazers rudderless (when Portland missed 13 of 14 shots, it cued a 22-2 run by the LAC) and being beaten by wave after wave of Chris Paul-Jordan-Jamal Crawford in the first 30 minutes of game time. If we can throw in another pop culture analogy here, just imagine the “Truman Show” scene where Jim Carrey (aka Terry Stotts) is lifeless on a yacht while the show’s creator (CP3) sends a tsunami his way while laughing the whole time. Spoiler alert: Nicolas Batum‘s (23 points, nine rebounds, five assists) defensive assignment on Paul in the late third quarter and early fourth quarter helped spark Portland’s rally back, where they made 14-of-17 shots at one point and were throwing up oops to Meyers Leonard (eight points, six boards) like they owned the Lob City title (Leonard put Ronny Turiaf on a poster on one going baseline with the right hand). … That’s not the moral of the story, though, it was only how it ended. The bigger story is the magical first tracks that Jordan (21 points, eight boards) was creating in the first half for the Clips, a stretch that was one of his best in his entire career. Jordan wasn’t the guy who shied away from handling the ball like he did, oh, every fourth quarter last season. He got the ball on the block at least four times in the first 20 minutes and went right at J.J. Hickson, getting jump hooks to go. Or he was beating LaMarcus Aldridge (a quiet 14 points) to offensive boards and getting the hoop and the harm. At one point he even made five free throws in a row, this coming after he missed his first eight to open the season. He was smooth, disruptive on defense (maybe choosing the wrong option against Kyrie Irving‘s game-securing three a few nights back taught him a lesson) and crushing on offense while yes, calling for the ball. As Jordan and Blake Griffin (seven points, 10 boards) sat in the second half, it was Jamal Crawford (25 points) who turned out the lights with four big buckets inside the key in the fourth quarter alone. The ending nearly spoiled Jordan’s huge first half, but it can’t dim his performance that took all the early season reasons for hope, and put them together in a bundle. … Hit the jump to hear about KD’s answer in Chicago …

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