Jordan on Howard: ‘It’s a challenge, but I love it’

By Eric Patten, Clippers.com
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Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan dunks during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan dunks during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

DeAndre Jordan has long been friends with Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard. On Monday, for the first of two meetings in less than a week, the two athletic big men will be matched up against each other.

They’ve met 11 times previously, four of those games coming in Howard’s lone season with the Lakers. Jordan owned a 25-12 rebounding edge over the seven-time All-Star. But according to Jordan, Howard looks different than a year ago through three games with the Rockets.

“He’s definitely moving around a lot better than he was last year,” Jordan said. “I feel like he slimmed down a lot. I was watching a couple of their games and you can just tell that last year was still a little stiff and his back was giving him some problems. Hopefully, he’ll be back to the 2010-2011 Dwight and that will be better for the league.”

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Howard, who had 26 rebounds in Houston’s opener, may not only be feeling better physically, but may also have more confidence.

“I don’t know if it’s health or confidence,” Rivers said of Howard. “It’s probably a little bit of both. When you’re coming off an injury, no matter who you are you still question what you can do as far as athletically and then that affects your confidence.”

Jordan knows a thing or two about playing with more confidence as well. While he’s not coming off an injury (Jordan’s started a Clippers record 161-straight games at center), he is coming off a season in which he was used sparingly down the stretch of games, something that has already changed through three games this year.

He’s played 36.0 minutes per game so far against the Lakers, Warriors and Kings and along with forward Blake Griffin has helped the Clippers control the paint in the last two, both victories.

With Houston in town on Monday, it could be one of the bigger, pun slightly intended, challenges for L.A.’s frontcourt tandem. Howard is playing alongside 7-footer Omer Asik, forming presumably the most physically daunting frontline Griffin and Jordan may face all season.

Read more at Clippers.com and be sure to catch the game tonight at 7 on KFWB NEWS TALK 980!

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