REDICK SCORES THROUGH CONSTANT MOVEMENT
LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin grinned and looked down at the microphone in front of him when asked about J.J. Redick’s performance Monday against the Houston Rockets.
He fiddled with the square microphone flag and grinned again before saying, “I mean, the guy can really shoot the basketball.”
It was as though Griffin was hesitant to reveal how well Redick fits into the Clippers’ offense or how much the new shooting guard opens things up for him inside or how much when teamed with Jamal Crawford or Jared Dudley, Redick makes the Clippers perhaps the most dangerous scoring attack in team history. So far, so perfect.
“The best part about playing with him is he never stops moving,” Griffin continued. “It’s not like one of those guys who spots up in the corner and that’s all he does or on the wing somewhere. He’s just constantly moving, cutting, misdirection, running off of three screens. That’s how he gets his shots. He really works for them.
“He’s going to be great for us, not only giving us another scorer, but really spacing the floor because somebody has to guard him at all times.”
Redick scored a game-high 26 points on Monday. He did it in 28 minutes on 15 shots. You could say it was effortless, but that would only account for the smoothness of his jumper not the frenetic motion from one side of the court to the next before he receives the ball.
“Well, I’ve always been a guy who bases his game on movement and moving without the ball,” Redick said. “Doc [Rivers] has a saying that ‘energy finds the ball, energy finds scoring, energy finds assists.’ You play with energy and things tend to work out.”
Playing that way was strategic for the Clippers (3-1) against Houston. Not only did Redick’s 15 first-quarter points jolt the offense, but it helped stagger superstar James Harden. With Redick’s aggressiveness he got Harden in early foul trouble, but more importantly helped break his will on the other end of the floor.
“We wanted to get him started early off of all the screens because he was going to guard a guy who was going to iso him all night,” Rivers said of Redick’s matchup with Harden. “It’s one of those cases where my thought was his offense can create his defense because if you’ve got guys running and chasing it’s hard to go on the iso game on the other end. That helped us tonight.”
But Redick was plenty helpful on the offensive end, too. He was five points shy of his career high of 31, was perfect from the foul line (8-for-8) and pitched in three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Of course, Redick’s scoring ability stood out most of all. He curled around screens to knock down a pair of elbow jumpers in the first quarter, sprinted to the short-corner 3-point line in transition and sauntered his way to the rim on several occasions after the Rockets defense was caught scrambling to contain him from the perimeter.
Point guard Chris Paul had a season-high 17 assists, five of them went Redick’s way. Through four games Paul has assisted on 15 of Redick’s 23 made field goals.
Paul says Redick complements him well. “What goes without saying is how he puts the ball on the floor and finds the open man and makes the right play. Some guys that can shoot just figure every time they’re open, they have to shoot it. He plays the right way and can handle the ball. It’s fun to play that way.”
As usual, though, it came back to Redick’s shooting ability.
“I even tell him every time he shoots it,” Paul said, “I expect it to go in. I get mad when he misses, so it’s a good feeling to have.”