After the Los Angeles Clippers' Game 5 loss in Memphis, DeAndre Jordan was visibly upset in the locker room. He had contributed a single point and no rebounds.
Reggie Evans, the veteran forward responsible for taking some of Jordan's minutes, had a clear message for the Clippers' big man.
"I told him not to worry about it," Evans said. " 'Don't put pressure on yourself. You'll be fine.' "
In Game 6 on Friday, Jordan was more than fine for an inspired stretch during the third quarter in which he had four points, a block and a defensive rebound in what seemed like a blink.
Yet despite the increased activity, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro subbed Jordan out of the game, and he didn't return.
"It's frustrating," Jordan said.
And now the Clippers have reason to worry. Their 90-88 loss to the Grizzlies sent the series back to Memphis for the decisive Game 7 on Sunday.
After playing 26 minutes and grabbing seven rebounds in Game 1 of the series and then getting 25 minutes and eight rebounds in Game 2, Jordan has averaged less than 20 minutes a game in the last four games and has totaled 11 rebounds.
With the team's stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, both hobbled by injuries, the Clippers need their role players to step up. Jordan isn't a scorer, obviously, but he must do a better job against the Grizzlies' two big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, or the Clippers will be gone in, well, a blink.
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