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Friday, November 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 104, Kings 98

By Arash Markazi


When Friday's game was over, Doc Rivers gave DeAndre Jordan a hug.

It was just a November game at Sacramento, but it seemed like much more for Jordan and for Rivers, who has been pushing Jordan to think of himself as part of the Los Angeles Clippers' "Big Three" since the offseason.

This, of course, was the same offseason where it looked as if Jordan would no longer be with the Clippers after he was involved in a deal for Kevin Garnett that was separate from the deal that brought Rivers to Los Angeles from the Boston Celtics, but connected enough that the league blocked it from happening.

It was the second time a blocked trade by David Stern has worked in the Clippers' favor.

While the 37-year-old Garnett looks like a player who should have retired after last season, the 25-year-old Jordan is finally coming into his own, and that was never more evident than during the Clippers' 104-98 overtime win over the Sacramento Kings.

Jordan had 10 points, 15 rebounds and 9 blocked shots, finishing one block shy of a triple-double and the franchise record for rejections.

"D.J. had a Bill Russell night," Rivers told reporters after the game. "He really did, with nine blocks and the rebounds. It's amazing what a defender can do for your team who just buys into it, and he's bought in 100 percent. Without him, we had no chance tonight. He was just phenomenal."

How it happened: After the Kings took a 98-94 lead with 3 minutes, 55 seconds left in overtime, the Clippers went on a 10-0 run and held Sacramento scoreless the rest of the way. Jamal Crawford scored the last four points of the game and assisted on Blake Griffin's two baskets in overtime.

What it means: With Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes sidelined, the Clippers came back from being down in overtime to claim a big road win. The Clippers are now 12-5 with a 2 1/2-game lead atop the division and 2 1/2 games out of the top seed in the Western Conference.

Hits: Crawford picked up the scoring and playmaking load with all the injuries in the Clippers' backcourt and had 31 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. He also came up big in overtime when the Clippers needed him most.

Griffin had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and, as mentioned, Jordan's contributions were huge.

Misses: Jared Dudley struggled offensively, finishing with five points on 2-of-5 shooting on a night when the Clippers could have used his offense with all the injuries. The bench, outside of Crawford, was also ineffective, with four players combining for nine points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Stat of the game: Crawford was one assist shy of finishing with a career-best 12, while Jordan was one blocked shot away from a triple-double and a franchise-best 10 blocked shots. It was the best game both have had this season and two of the best they've ever had in Los Angeles.

Up next: The Clippers will play another matinee game at Staples Center on Sunday, this time against the Indiana Pacers, who have the best record in the NBA at 15-1. It's the first time these two teams are meeting this season. The teams split their two meetings last season, with the road team winning each game.

As good as the Pacers have been this season, Rivers recently said they're not elite yet.

"There's one elite team in the NBA right now and that's Miami. That's it," Rivers said. "Everybody else is trying to get there. Indiana is playing great, but Miami is the only elite team in the NBA. They're the team that has been to the Finals the past three years, they have two championships, we're all just trying to get there."