CONFIDENT DUDLEY NAILS SEASON-HIGH SIX 3-POINTERS
LOS ANGELES – Confidence can be a funny thing.
Take Jared Dudley. Slogging through a slump that’s carried on for the past four games, Dudley, a career 40-percent marksman from 3-point range, had resorted to not even taking shots from outside. He was 0-for-4 since Christmas and 1-for-11 if you count the game before.
In 23 minutes on Monday Dudley did not even attempt a shot from beyond the arc, something he had only done four times in the previous four years.
So, when he knocked down two of his first three 3-pointers Wednesday, it was Dudley’s confidence as a shooter that spurred him to break out of his slump.
“For me, to see the ball go in once or twice, it breeds confidence,” Dudley said.
Doc Rivers thinks so, too. “I just believe in shooters,” he said. “Shooters at some point will start making shots.”
And Dudley did on Wednesday. He finished with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting including 6-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line in the Clippers’ 112-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The six makes from distance were one shy of Dudley’s career best. Some of that came purely from Dudley making shots that he’s been missing recently, but it was also due to the Clippers putting more of an emphasis on ball movement.
Said Dudley, “When we play from side-to-side, we’re a much different team.”
Blake Griffin, who scored a game-high 31 points against the Bobcats, benefitted from a noticeable difference in the way defenses handle the Clippers offense when Dudley is spacing the floor.
“When he’s hitting shots like that it spreads the whole court,” Griffin said. “You have to respect his shot. Even when he’s not hitting, or having an off day, you still have to respect his shot. But when he’s hitting like that and they’re constantly worried about where he is, that just opens up the court for everybody else.”
It has been a roller coaster season so far for Dudley, who was acquired along with J.J. Redick in a three-team trade this summer. He’s battled through right knee tendinitis and several low scoring outings, including two extended slumps. But he’s also shown when he gets going from the perimeter it changes the dynamic of the Clippers’ offense.
The Clippers are 13-1 when he scores at least 10 points and 7-0 when he makes at least three 3-pointers. On Wednesday, once he made a couple and Charlotte had to close out hard, he was able to create plays for others off the dribble, including finding DeAndre Jordan for a tomahawk dunk on a no-look bounce pass and getting Ryan Hollins a layup when he passed up an open 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
“Dudley’s a shooter,” Chris Paul said. “I think I said it last game, ‘Every time I see him shoot it, I think it is going in.’ We’re going to keep feeding him like that and it’s all about confidence. We all play off confidence and I think that he felt good tonight.”