There was a moment during Wednesday’s pregame show when DeAndre Jordan was the center of attention.
DeAndre, who had never played a down in a game, got the ball in the air and slid the ball into the hands of his fellow rookie DeAndre Johnson.
The 6-foot-6 rookie was already the center in the Blazers’ starting lineup.
But it was a highlight reel moment.
Jordan was playing with a chip on his shoulder and was trying to show the league he could handle the ball, not a big man.
Deandre didn’t let him.
The ball rolled into his hands and he went up for it.
He hit the game-winner with a right hook that put Portland up 11-9.
And then he turned to his teammates and told them, “It was my time to shine.”
And then, of course, the applause.
Jordan had been a lightning rod in the NBA this season, but this season was about Jordan and DeAndre.
It was about his leadership, about his grit, about how he was willing to work hard to be the best he could be, even if that meant playing for the Blazers at a time when they were looking to make a playoff push.
It wasn’t just a moment that got the attention of everyone watching, but it was an unforgettable one for many of Jordan’s teammates.
“It’s a very special feeling for me,” said center Damian Lillard, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s a great teammate, a great leader.
He’s a role model for me.”
The Blazers’ bench was quiet Thursday when the team held its annual player meeting.
The Blazers made a point to keep it quiet because it was Jordan’s birthday and he’d missed a day of practice.
But the bench seemed to enjoy the moment.
When asked how the moment felt, Lillard said, “The biggest thing is that I was able to play.
I was playing well.
I had a good day.
I did the best I could.
And it was kind of like the last time I played.
It felt great.”
The players were in their respective locker rooms Thursday, but the majority of the players were out in the community with family and friends, including the coach.
They all agreed the moment was special.
“The most important thing for me is that we’ve all got a lot to learn from each other,” Lillard told reporters.
DeAndre had a chance to win the game with the last play of the game. “
So when I came back and got back in the game, it’s just a great feeling to be able to go out there and be on the court and to be out there for him and do my part.”
DeAndre had a chance to win the game with the last play of the game.
But his shot was blocked by Portland’s Brandon Roy.
And after the game the Blazers announced Jordan would miss three weeks with an ankle injury.
Jordan has averaged 17.9 points and 10.8 rebounds this season for Portland, but he is not a starter.
Portland is 6-4 since Jordan returned and has won four of its last five games.
This was the first time since the start of the 2011-12 season that the Blazers were in a four-game losing streak.
The team is in third place in the West and is only one game behind Golden State for the fourth seed in the conference.
The teams have played every other night, with Portland winning each one.
— Follow Marc Stein on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine and ESPNNewYork at www