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Basketball / Sports

Jordan hits big free throws as Clippers turn back Wizards

LOS ANGELES -- The numbers say, "Foul DeAndre Jordan. He's going to miss more than he makes."

But Wednesday, the 40 percent shooter from the line calmly sank four free throws in the final minutes, helping the Los Angeles Clippers hold on for a 110-103 victory over Washington.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman sent Jordan to the line intentionally on consecutive trips, and the Clippers center stepped up and hit each one, turning a three-point lead into a comfortable seven-point advantage.

"That was great," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "He's going to be in those situations. ... The more you make, the less you're going to be fouled."

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 29 points. Jordan finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds.

The Clippers built a 16-point lead early in the third quarter, but the Wizards, led by one of the best young backcourts in the NBA, closed to one several times in the fourth quarter.

While the Clippers made shots (49.3 percent) and got to the foul line (42 attempts), the team was loose with the ball, turning the ball over 19 times. Even worse, those turnovers led to easy baskets for the Wizards, giving them life in the second half.

In the fourth quarter, Bradley Beal began to cook for the Wizards, scoring 10 of his 20 points, but J.J. Redick responded to score 12 of his 20 in the fourth.

But with the game in the balance, Jordan came up huge.

He blocked two shots and forced a shot-clock violation on one end to get a crucial stop before hitting the free throws.

It was the Clippers fourth win a row.

"That was a good win for us," Rivers said. "That was a really hard game."

TURKOGLU HELPING OUT

After a tumultuous year in Toronto that ended with him being traded, Hedo Turkoglu was hammered with boos last week when the Clippers beat the Raptors in Canada.

Before Wednesday's game with Washington, Turkoglu thought his home debut as a Clipper would go better.

"I hope so," he said, jokingly.

Whether the fans like Turkoglu or not, it doesn't matter much. Coach Doc Rivers does.

"He's been great," Rivers said. "I was surprised in the first game (about) his ball-handling. Usually, when you miss the amount of games he missed, that's the last thing that comes around because of the speed of the game and all that."

Turkoglu, who had played only 11 games the past two seasons before joining the Clippers this month, has given the team a boost off the bench. While he's still finding his footing in terms of creating his own offense, Turkoglu's already become a trigger for the rest of the offense.

Turkoglu, never known for his defense, has even impressed Rivers with his knowledge of the team's schemes.

Still, on both ends, Turkoglu knows he has work to do.

"I try to feel better every day. I try to do certain things to get into better shape," he said. "The rest is going to come by playing, being out there and feeling more comfortable.

"It's still new for me. I'm still learning. Even today, I learned a few more new things."

Rivers has learned that adding a veteran late in the season can be a big help. When the Boston Celtics won the title in 2008, P.J. Brown hit a huge shot in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to propel Rivers to his only title as a coach.

The Celtics signed Brown midseason, plucking him off his couch.

NOTES

Rivers said he called other coaches in the NBA to lobby for DeAndre Jordan's All-Star candidacy. The NBA will announce the All-Star reserves, seven from each conference, Thursday on TNT. ... Blake Griffin was called for a technical foul for complaining to officials in the first half. It was Griffin's 11th technical this season. Players receive a one-game suspension after being called for 16 technicals.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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