Backcourt Picks Up Slack With Redick Next In Line For Rest Night
LOS ANGELES – J.J. Redick chowed down on a muffuletta sandwich an hour before tip-off in New Orleans. He didn’t need to worry about it slowing him down.
Redick got the night off Friday against the Pelicans in the second game of a back-to-back and the final game of the Clippers’ lone six-game road trip of the year, marking the second game of the trip the Clippers decided to rest a player after giving Blake Griffin the night off Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Admittedly, head coach Doc Rivers said, keeping a healthy player out took some convincing in both cases.
“I just think players want to play, and I’m glad that we have enough information to say that there’s certain nights you probably shouldn’t play,” Rivers said.
Griffin explained after sitting against the Nets how he received information from coaches and the sports science staff regarding why it made sense for him to sit. As much as both Griffin and Redick wanted to play, they understood the reasoning and hope it pays off.
“I don’t think they’ve been pleased with it or displeased,” Rivers said. “I think they would rather play, but they accepted it, and it’s not been a debate, really, because I don’t think you could make that a debate – otherwise they’d play. But, I think they accept it because they know we feel it’s the right thing to do, and I think all the players who are doing this probably think, ‘Well, we’ll see at the end of the year just how effective this was,’ but they’re taking it right now in stride.”
Redick said he knew Griffin wasn’t thrilled about sitting in Brooklyn, and he just wanted to know if it was going to be a conversation or not when his time came, or if he’d get to have a say.
“Obviously, I want to play every night,” Redick said.
He knew, though, that the decision was already made.
Redick said it’s not necessarily about being tired, because despite it being the sixth game of the road trip, he wasn’t feeling fatigued.
“So – and for each guy it’s a little different, case by case – the reasoning at least presented to me today made sense,” Redick said. “Doc had made his decision, I think, when he was having his conversation with Blake on Tuesday, it sounds like. This is not something that had anything to do with the last 24 hours.”
The decision, Redick said, has more to do with the games coming up than the games that have already happened.
“Sort of picking games that made sense for one guy to get a break here or there based on the upcoming schedule, not necessarily anything that already happened,” Redick explained. “In December, we have a tough month. I think we finish the month with seven games in 10 days.”
Redick singled out March as another tough month for travel, where rest decisions will need to be made. He said he believes it’s a case-by-case basis trying to figure out the right days to rest players.
He woke up Friday morning unsure whether or not he’d be playing, but around breakfast time, the training staff let him know.
With Redick out, the Clippers put Raymond Felton in the starting lineup, and he contributed 12 points, three assists and two rebounds, as the Clippers finished the six-game road trip on a high note with their second straight win.
Chris Paul, who dished out 13 assists, said with Redick out it’s easy to forget how much he’s taken for granted, but the Clippers picked up their pace to make up for the lack of scoring. They also got a season-high 21 points off the bench from Jamal Crawford, who passed Vince Carter for No. 6 on the NBA’s all-time leaderboard for 3-pointers in the process.
The Clippers knew going into the night the offensive firepower that would be absent with Redick out. Much like the end of their road trip, they found a way to respond from adverse circumstances, with Crawford giving credit to Felton for stepping in.
“If you watched him in Dallas last year, he does a good job filling in for starters, and he’s aggressive,” Crawford said. “I wanted to just kind of play it by ear, and I figured at certain points I needed to be even more aggressive, especially in the first half to kind of get us back on track.”