REDICK ‘PROBABLY GOING TO PLAY’ VS. LAKERS
PLAYA VISTA – It’s been 21 games since J.J. Redick took the floor for the Clippers, long enough to almost forget about him. Friday night, though, Redick may help dust off some of those short memories.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that he anticipates Redick will return to the lineup against the Lakers.
“He’s been cleared and he looked good the other day, so if that’s true he’s probably going to play,” Rivers said.
Redick, who has been out since Nov. 29 with a fractured right hand and torn ligament in his wrist, has been on a fast-track to return. His hard cast was removed two weeks ago, he started shooting towards the end of last week, and he returned to practice on Tuesday.
Rivers is still uncertain as to how many minutes Redick will play if he suits up against the Lakers.
“We’re not going to do a lot today in practice, but we are going to practice more because J.J.’s back,” Rivers said. “I probably wouldn’t even practice [otherwise]. I’m just going to watch and see.
“I don’t think a practice will be able to tell me if he’ll be able to go 30 minutes or not. Tomorrow, I’m just going to watch him and if J.J.’s not running around screens that means he’s tired.”
The Clippers (25-13) have started Willie Green and Jamal Crawford in Redick’s absence with Crawford starting the past 14 games, including 10 victories. If Redick is back, Crawford will likely shift back into his sixth man role.
“I’m a team player,” Crawford said. “I’ve been a sixth man so I’m comfortable in that position or starting, and we’ve been winning, so I’m fine either way.”
Crawford will serve as the primary ball-handler off the bench as Chris Paul remains out with a separated right shoulder. How that meshes with Redick, who had more than half of his field goals come off of assists from Paul, remains to be seen.
“J.J.’s just a machine,” Rivers said. “He just moves. He creates an offense in itself. What will be interesting will be to see how it works without Chris. J.J.’s movement is still dependent on the point guard seeing the movement and getting him the ball in the right spot.”
Redick 15.8 points per game on 46.0 percent shooting through 17 games in his first season with the Clippers. But outside of a half in Sacramento before he got injured, he has yet to play without Paul around. Still, Redick’s potential return will certainly help bolster a Clippers’ offense that has been missing its starting guards for the past four games.
“If he’s able to play, he obviously stretches the floor,” Blake Griffin said. “He puts a lot of pressure on defenses and not just standing on the 3-point line, but the way he moves. I think that was one of the things I was impressed with right away playing with him is how he moves without the ball and how he’s just constantly in motion. I think that puts so much pressure on defenses because you never know where he’s going to be.”
Said Crawford, “It’s another added weapon. We’ve been missing J.J. his outside shooting, his leadership, the way he plays the game, he plays it the right way, so I can’t wait to have him back.”