J.J. Redick could be the X factor for the Clippers in the playoffs

J.J. Redick could be the X factor for the Clippers in the playoffs
Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick reacts after making a three-point basket against the Pacers earlier this season. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Sharpshooter J.J. Redick has been the X factor recently for the Clippers.

Over the months of March and April, he has averaged 20.3 points a game while shooting 49.5% from the field and 45.9% from beyond the three-point line.

That's a sharp jump from the 16.4 points on 47.7% shooting from the field and 43.7% from beyond the arc he averaged over the full season.

"Obviously my production the last couple of months has been a lot more than it was, say, the first two-thirds of the season," Redick said. "Part of that was just again, Jamal [Crawford] being out, Blake [Griffin] being out. What I've been able to do this year is kind of what I envisioned when I signed here."

Redick is having a career season, but then again he pretty much always does.

Ever since his second season in the league, his numbers have steadily increased. He's now averages more than four times the 4.1 points a game that he averaged in 2007-08.

"I try to get better every year," Redick said. "I think this has been a great basketball situation for me here in L.A. with the Clippers, playing for Doc [Rivers], and playing with CP [Chris Paul], and Blake, and DJ [DeAndre Jordan]. It's been very enjoyable and I think it's allowed me to play to my strengths."

Rivers attributed Redick's unprecedented numbers this season to his health, and also to Redick's teammates' realizing who they're playing with.

"I think our guys understand when JJ is on the floor, he's a weapon in itself," Rivers said. "The dunks are great, but when JJ gets open, the ticker is exciting. When the ball is in the air, you can see the team react because they did something. Usually when JJ scores, it's more of a team score. He gets the shot, but it's been created by someone else."

Redick had a slow start this season, averaging only 10 points on 21% shooting in October, followed by 12.9 points on 43.3% shooting in December.

He overcame his slump, he said, because of the confidence he gained during the off-season when he said he spent hours in the gym six days a week, concentrating on his perceived weaknesses.

"I knew that eventually things would work out," Redick said.

They did.

When the Clippers need him most -- as when Griffin was sidelined after elbow surgery, and Crawford was sidelined with a leg injury -- Redick kept the team rolling, helping them close the season winning by 14 of their last 15 games.

Redick has made the playoffs each season that he's been in the NBA, and Rivers said that he would be a key asset in the Clippers' first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs, which opens Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

"He's used to being the guy that people want to stop, that people hate, that people don't like," Rivers said. "That's the playoffs in many ways."