RIVERS, PAUL URGE TEAM TO KEEP SHOOTING
OKLAHOMA CITY – Keep shooting.
That’s the motto for the Clippers heading into Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Chesapeake Energy Arena Tuesday night.
After his team struggled from 3-point range in two straight games at home, going 10-for-47 (21.3 percent), Clippers head coach Doc Rivers wants guys like J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes to continue shooting within the flow of the offense.
“When you look at the film, we got some great shots,” Rivers said of Game 4 when the Clippers were 3-for-21 from distance. “We missed a lot of wide-open shots. Obviously, it’s a make-miss league so you’ve got to make some of those shots.”
Earlier in the postseason the Clippers did make them. They set a franchise record with 67 3-pointers in their seven-game series against the Warriors and despite making just three in Game 4 against the Thunder, they still lead the NBA with 101 makes. Crawford, Redick and Chris Paul have each made at least 20.
Paul, who is 29-for-61 from 3-point range in the Playoffs, said at Tuesday’s shootaround that he’s satisfied with the looks the offense has generated. And, according to Paul, he’s going to keep feeding Redick and Barnes.
“I’m going to tell you the truth,” Paul said. “I don’t know until after a game how someone has shot except for me. I didn’t realize that Matt didn’t make any last game and I didn’t know J.J. was struggling last game. These are great shooters and for me any time they’re open or any time I can get them a shot I’m going to get them a shot.”
Barnes went 0-for-6 from the field in Game 4, which broke a string of five straight games in double-figures and eight straight with at least one 3-pointer.
Redick has played 46 games, including all 11 so far in the postseason. Until Games 3 and 4 against the Thunder, he had yet to have two field goals or fewer in back-to-back starts all season. He’s just 2-for-7 from 3-point range in the past two games and scored five and six points respectively.
But the expectation is that Redick, who shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range (73-for-185) in the regular season and scored 50 points in the three games before Game 3, will return to form.
“J.J.’s a great shooter,” Rivers said. “Shooters go through little things. I’ve coached a lot of shooters and Ray Allen missed shots. He went three or four games in the Playoffs without making shots and then he’d hit 12. That’s what shooters do. I’m not a good enough shooter to tell J.J. what to do, so I just stay out of his way.”
Rivers is referring to Allen’s 2010 Finals between the Celtics and Lakers when he set a then-NBA Finals record with eight 3-pointers in Game 2 and proceeded to go 0-for-16 from 3-point range before making four in the last two games of the series.
Allen, who is the league’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, played for Rivers for five seasons. Rivers says Redick is comparably one of the players who should have the confidence to shoot every time they touch the ball no matter how many they’ve missed previously.
“You want the bad shooters to stop shooting and you want the great shooters to keep shooting,” Rivers said. “And I think they’ve proven over their career that they’re great shooters, so why would they ever stop shooting. That’s what makes them so good. The Rays and all of them.”