DESPITE HIGH-SCORING OUTPUT, REDICK SAYS OFFENSE CAN BE EVEN BETTER
LOS ANGELES – Clippers guard J.J. Redick can deadpan. He’s funny and often sarcastic.
But Monday morning after the Clippers’ shoot-around session before their matchup with the undefeated Houston Rockets, Redick was completely serious. He said the offense can be significantly better than where it is at.
The same offense that has produced at least 110 points in each of the last three games, the one that seems fluid enough to top 100 points or more at ease.
“I hate to say this because we’re averaging a lot of points,” Redick said, “but I think we’re running at about 50 percent capacity of where we can be execution-wise.”
He may be alluding to the turnovers, which have led to 23.7 points per game for opponents through the first week and is something Head Coach Doc Rivers suggested were “killing” the Clippers a few hours later in his pregame meeting with the media. “Turnovers and second-chance points,” Rivers said when asked what his team needed to clean up against Houston.
While live-ball turnovers and opponents winning the offensive glass have reduced possessions, it has hardly slowed down the Clippers offense thus far. Redick and Jared Dudley, who has topped double digits in back-to-back games, are spacing the floor.
“Those two guys are knockdown shooters,” Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said. “There were times where in the past the Clippers didn’t really have knockdown shooters like that. J.J. Redick is amongst the best, not just today, but who has played the game at shooting. Jared Dudley is proven. So, those guys stretch the floor and give more room and they make [the Clippers] tougher to guard.”
Jackson was specifically referring to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. The space in which they operate is vast and open. It is a veritable Great Plains compared to what may have once been a narrow alley. Rivers has called on both of his stars to be more aggressive offensively, and so far, Paul has.
He’s the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20 points and 10 assists, entering play Monday, and Griffin has put up back-to-back performances of 20 points or more and 10 rebounds or more.
“I’ve just tried to take whatever the game gives me,” Paul said. “Coach [Rivers] and all of my teammates keep telling me to be aggressive. Me and Blake have had conversations, too, and our team is a little bit different this year than it was last year and I think it’s going to call for us to score a little bit more.”
The offense will also call for all of the new pieces, and some of the holdovers like star sixth man Jamal Crawford, becoming more comfortable.
“I think offensively with Chris running pick-and-rolls we’re going to be a tough team to stop,” Redick said. “I think Jared and I are just trying to figure out where our shots are coming from. As a shooter you’re just trying to be in a rhythm and continue to get in a better rhythm.”
Getting in a better rhythm as offense could be a frightening proposition for the rest of the league. And if that happens Redick may only be able to joke about how much better they can get.