REDICK: ‘IF [DOC] NEEDS ME, I’M AVAILABLE’
PLAYA VISTA – While Doc Rivers says he will still keep a watchful eye on shooting guard J.J. Redick’s bothersome lower back as the Playoffs begin Saturday, Redick enters the postseason as healthy as he has been in weeks.
Redick, who missed 25 games with a bulging disc in his back, returned on Apr. 3 and played in five consecutive games before a scheduled day off in the regular-season finale Wednesday.
“I feel refreshed,” Redick said prior to Friday’s practice. “I feel like Tuesday night was probably the best I’ve felt physically in a game and I only played 18 minutes. So, I felt like I could’ve played Wednesday. But we decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to play in that game.”
Redick, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul all did not travel to Portland with the team Tuesday night, but worked out together at the Clippers’ training center Wednesday morning and practiced the past two days as the Pacific Division champions prepare for Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors.
In the five games since returning from injury, Redick, who averaged 28.2 minutes per game, ramped up his playing time. And although he played just 18 minutes in the Clippers’ 117-105 victory over the Nuggets Tuesday, he looked sharper in that game than any previous, making four 3-pointers and scoring 18 points.
Asked if he has any limitations in terms of minutes, Redick said, “I haven’t really discussed that with Doc. Prior to the last game, in the first four games, my minutes were right around what I was averaging prior to that. If we look at it from need in the game, needing every win we can get, if he needs me, I’m available.”
Rivers called managing Redick and Jamal Crawford, who came back Saturday from a lingering calf injury, will be more of an “eye test” than anything.
“With J.J. honestly, I think it’s going to be game-to-game.,” Rivers said. “I really believe that. I think Jamal as he plays hopefully he just gets healthier and healthier. But J.J. has a back issue. That’s not going away. I think there will be days he looks great and moves great and there will be days when he doesn’t. I’m hoping the days that he doesn’t are off days and the days that he does are on days. But if they’re not then we’re going to have to not play him.”
Considering the intensity of the Clippers’ and Warriors’ regular season meetings, the expectation is that their first-ever matchup in the postseason will take on a new level of emotion. However, the Clippers don’t view that as a bad thing.
“The key is to have emotion but not be emotional,” Rivers said. “You need emotion to do anything worthwhile, to me. I don’t want to rob us of that at all. I think we are a team that plays with emotion and I think we should be a team that does that. But obviously for both teams there’s a line that you don’t want to cross.”
The Clippers were assessed 75 technical fouls in the regular season, including 16 being whistled superstar Blake Griffin, who was suspended for the final game of the season due to exceeding the league maximum for technicals.
“Overall, for the most part, we’ve been on the right side of it,” Rivers said of whether or not playing with too much emotion hurts the Clippers. “I think every team that’s good, Miami, whoever, has days where they’re too emotional. That’s’ fine. You just try to regulate it and figure out how far you can go with it.”
Griffin added: “You can’t leave the emotion behind. I think both teams need that to a certain extent. You can’t become too emotional where it’s affecting your play, but you’ve got to play with some emotion you can’t take that out of the game.”
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