Denton: Redick's Chronicle

By John Denton
January 19, 2012

ORLANDO – Over the course of three games in three days, Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick played a whopping 99 minutes.

As it turns out, he would have liked to have had an additional two-tenths of a second more on the court.

Redick buried a potential game-winning 3-pointer late Wednesday night, but the high-arching shot was ruled to have left his hands after time had expired. So rather than enjoying a sixth consecutive victory and a first-ever stretch of three wins in three days, Redick and the Magic were forced to stomach an 85-83 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Redick had to navigate some obstacles just to get the final shot off. Following a missed 3-pointer by Ryan Anderson, Redick received a kick-out pass from Dwight Howard with approximately 3.1 seconds to play. But because San Antonio’s Danny Green was running toward him and jumping to contest, Redick had to pump fake and use an escape dribble to get room for the shot.

The ball found nothing but net, but clearly left Redick’s hands after the horn had sounded. He held both palms in the air as the ball was still aloft, knowing all along that the shot was going down. But knowing that it would be disallowed, Redick frustratingly put his hands on his head in disgust.

Redick, who is in his sixth season with the Magic, agreed to keep a running diary for this week about the highs, lows and rigors of playing three games in three days. Orlando won in New York on Monday, beat Charlotte at the Amway Center on Tuesday and agonizingly lost Wednesday to the Spurs as Redick’s shot was disallowed.

The Magic were playing their first stretch of three games in three nights because of the NBA lockout that stretched almost five months. Redick is no stranger to playing three straight days, having competed in four Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship games while he was a college star at Duke University.

Redick recounted the last four days – a prep day of practice and flying to New York and the subsequent three games -- for’s readers along with Magic beat writer John Denton. Here is Redick’s account of what the past four days have been like on his body, his psyche and his team:

Sunday, Jan. 15 – Practice in Orlando, flying to New York

We spent about an hour and 15 minutes on the court on Sunday preparing for the Knicks. But it was a really light practice. Everything we did was dummy offense and five-on-zero stuff just walking through sets and also getting our defensive principles down.

On the plane, I have the corner seat in the player’s cabin – one of the perks of being a veteran around here with the Magic. Typically I’m the guy who puts my headphones on and listens to some bands while I read a book. I’m trying to get through ``Team of Rivals,’’ which is a book about Abe Lincoln and his political genius, but it takes about three minutes to read a page. So I’m really struggling with it right now. I’m usually a fast reader and typically I’m done with 400 pages in a day or two. But this book has been specifically challenging.

The music choice for the flight to and from New York was a new band that I just discovered, called ``Milo Greene.’’ They’ve got a song called `1957’ that’s been playing on my repeat a lot recently. So that’s the band that I’m really into the most right now.

Once in New York, after I settled into the hotel room at the Parker-Meredian Hotel, I got out into the city to see some friends. I have a lot of buddies both from high school and college who live in the city, so I went down to TriBeCa and met two college buddies. We met at Marc Forgione’s restaurant. You guys might remember him from the Iron Chef show on the Food Network. He’s a pretty famous chef, but I don’t think he was cooking Sunday night. But the food was great. As the appetizer, I had grilled octopus, which was phenomenal and if I see that on the menu I typically get it. And for my entrée, I had the halibut, which was awesome, too. And I’m a sucker for bread pudding so I had to have that for dessert, too.

Unlike most NBA players, I’m one of the guys who likes to get into bed pretty early. I used to be a night owl and when I was 22 I’d play video games until 2 o’clock in the morning or watch the 1 a.m. SportsCenter. But since I have been with my wife – she’s early to bed, early to rise – I’ve adapted and I’m usually in bed by 10 and up by 7.

On Sunday night, I was bed by 10:45, slept through the night and it was a good night of rest. So I feel rested and ready to go for the Knicks.

I’m one of the few married guys on the team, so things are naturally a little different for me than some others. When I’m on the road, Chelsea tends to go to bed even earlier than normal. We usually chat before she goes to bed. It’s always a little difficult when we’re travelling on the West Coast like last week when we were in Sacramento, Portland and Oakland. We joke about how it seems like we didn’t even talk last week because of the time change. I’m getting up at 9 a.m. and she’s halfway through her day. I’m going to dinner and she’s going to bed. So the West Coast trips make things a little difficult.

Monday, Jan. 16 – Early tipoff, beating the Knicks

With the Knicks game tipping off at 1 p.m. it really changes the routine for me. As a general rule, NBA players don’t like day games because our bodies are programmed to play mostly at night and we are creatures of habit and routine. We’re not able to get our `NBA Nap’ with day games, and the `NBA Nap’ is usually a sacred time of day for NBA players. On the normal schedule, I usually get home from shootaround, get some lunch and then nap from 1-3 to rest up for the night game.

On Monday, I woke up at 8, got some breakfast and went down to our team meeting at 9. Then, I just rested and got myself ready for the game. We have two busses to the arena – an early bus and a late bus. I got on our second bus at 11 and arrived at the arena by 11:30 a.m. for the 1 o’clock tipoff.

As opposed to being in my usual role as a reserve, I got my first start of the season Monday in place of Jason Richardson, who sprained his knee last week in Golden State. Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I try to have the same mindset of bringing energy, attacking offensively and holding my ground defensively. Monday was the 20th start of my career, so really it’s nothing new to me.

We had to battle through some things against the Knicks such as Dwight Howard being in foul trouble, Carmelo Anthony having a big game and the Knicks leading most of the day. But we kept making big shots, we made a big switch to a zone defense late in the game and we got a really good 102-93 victory to improve to 9-3 on the season.

I think it’s very evident that we are a resilient team. I can think of the Toronto game at home, last Thursday night at Golden State and then tonight where we trailed the whole game. We made an adjustment to the zone defense and took them out of their game. We were able to hit enough shots and get enough stops to win the game.

I hit three 3-pointers in the game, but the play I was the most proud of was a layup with an up-and-under move on Ian Shumpert. I got out ahead of the defense by sprinting ahead and I was going to just pull up for a three when I saw Shumpert stop. So I kept going and I used the rim to keep him from having a chance to block the shot. I guess every now and then I do something a little athletic. Actually I think everybody in the building was surprised – the Knicks, my teammates and maybe even me, a little bit.

Winning a game like that is going to make this flight home so much better. We spend so much of our time flying around and really it’s my least favorite part of this job. So trust me, when we win it makes the flights much more manageable.

Usually when we play a back-to-back, I go into the facility the next day for a session in the cold plunge. That has such a good effect on my body and keeps the swelling down in my joints. But because we’re getting home so early because of the day game, I’m just going to go tonight and take the plunge to rejuvenate my body for these next two games we still have to play.

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Back at home, facing the Charlotte Bobcats

I don’t sleep well at all after games, so I had a very interesting night of sleep after the Knicks game even though we played in the daytime and got home early. I did finally get to sleep at some point, but at 7:23 in the morning a battery on one our alarms started beeping and I didn’t have any extra around the house. So I just went ahead and got up.

Chelsea and I made breakfast and had some coffee. After that I was at the facility by 11 a.m. and got in the cold plunge again. I went back home, grabbed lunch about 12:30, ran a couple of errands and then got in bed for about an hour and slept for an hour. I jumped right back up, had a quick bite in my car on the way over for our 4 o’clock meeting. So it was a very hectic and hurried day for me.

I always toss and turn the night after a game and never sleep well. I just don’t sleep well after games – win or lose – and I never have. I knew when I looked at the schedule back in November that this was going to be a tough week for me and I probably won’t sleep after tonight’s game either. That’s just how it works for me.

We made some plays in the fourth quarter to beat Charlotte 96-89. It was our fifth win in a row and we just keep finding ways to win these games. Ryan and Turk made some big threes in the fourth quarter and our defense was much better in the second half.

Some people might think I’m crazy for saying this because we had a really good squad in 2009 that beat Boston and Cleveland and got to the NBA Finals, but here goes: There are times when I’m on the court or on the bench and we’re playing and I say to myself, `This team has a chance to be the best we’ve been in my six years with the Magic. I think we’ve got a lot of experience, we have the best big guy in the league (in Dwight Howard), the best and most dominant player (in Howard) and a lot of solid pieces around him. We have great coaching. We just have to keep buying in to what we do and we have a chance to be pretty darned good.

Wednesday, Jan. 18 – Suffering through San Antonio, agony at the end

Knowing that I don’t sleep well after games, it might be a week before I sleep after what happened to us Wednesday night at home against the Spurs. Actually, I slept much better Tuesday night and felt rested for Wednesday’s San Antonio game. Who knows how I’ll sleep Wednesday and Thursday because I know I’ll be replaying that finish over and over in my head.

I did get to the Amway Center much earlier in the day on Wednesday to get treatment because my body is banged up from the back-to-back. And later in the afternoon I went through an abbreviated version of my shooting routine to try and save myself a little bit because we were playing for a third night in a row.

The game against the Spurs was an ugly, low-scoring one most of the night with both teams struggling to score. They were on a back-to-back and we were playing our third game in as many nights, so energy was in short supply at times and both sides were clearly tired.

Tony Parker got it going for them in the fourth quarter, but we were able to rally to force overtime. I missed a free throw early in the game – just the third one I have missed all season, but I made two with a minute left to get us within two points of the lead. I was able to convert a layup over Danny Green with 36 seconds left to tie the game, and then I got two more free throws to go down with 17 seconds to force overtime.

Hey, we were playing our third game in three nights, so what’s five more minutes, right?

We were down in the final seconds when Stan drew up a high pick-and-roll play for Jameer Nelson, and he found Ryan for a pretty good look from 3-point range. The shot was off, but Dwight got the rebound – as he did most of the night.

It was about 3.4, 3.5 seconds when Dwight turned and threw the ball at me. I shot-faked and it was 1.8. If I shot the ball right away, the defender was so high I wouldn’t have gotten off a good shot so I really had two options. One was to jump into him, which looking back, it was kind of at an angle so I would have had to lean in. Two-tenths of a second was basically what I needed. I could have rushed that escape dribble a little more. If I could do it again, that would probably be it.

So that’s the result that I have to live with for the next few days. It was a tough night for a lot of different reasons, but that ending just made it tougher. I’m not a guy who enjoys moral victories or rah-rah stuff like, `Way to fight.’ We should have won the game and that’s the bottom line.

Playing three games in a row, 3-0 would have been so nice. But we’ll have to live with 2-1 in what should be our most difficult stretch of the season.

Thanks for reading!!! – J.J.

John Denton writes for John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at

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