Fast starts by J.J. Redick often mean happy endings for Clippers

Clippers guard J.J. Redick drives to the basket during the Clippers' 127-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

First things first when it comes to J.J. Redick’s production.

Start with his first-quarter stats. If they’re good, he’s probably on the way to a big night.

The scenario repeated itself again Monday for the Clippers shooting guard during his team’s 127-101 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Redick scored nine points before the game was five minutes old, making his first four shots. He closed the first quarter with 13 points and finished the game with 23.

“As a shooter, you want to see your first couple of shots go in,” Redick said afterward. “I just feel like it gives me confidence.”

Redick continued to make shots the rest of the game, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone. In the eight games this season in which Redick has scored at least 14 points, he is averaging 6.8 points in the first quarter while making 51.4% of his shots and 47.4% of his three-point attempts.


Those numbers decline sharply in the early going of games Redick in which has scored 13 points or fewer; he is averaging 3.8 points in the first quarter while making 33.3% of his shots and 33.3% of his three-point tries.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said getting Redick involved in the offense early has been a priority.

“We’ve tried to do it, he just wasn’t making shots,” Rivers said. “Finally it’s starting to go in for him.”

Redick made seven of 11 shots against the Timberwolves, including four of five from three-point range. He completed two four-point plays and a few other highlight moves that wowed his teammates.

“We just get him the ball and get out of his way, especially when he gets in there making fake passes and reverse layups,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said before being interrupted.

Said Redick: “That left-handed layup was nice.”

Deadpanned forward Blake Griffin, seated between his teammates: “Thanks for recapping.”

Rivers said Redick’s shots were a function of his team’s ball movement. If he’s getting shots, then the ball is zipping around the court; if he’s not getting shots, then the ball is getting stuck in players’ hands.

One stat should give the Clippers all the incentive they need to get the ball to Redick: They are 7-1 when he scores at least 14 points.

All together now

The Clippers’ starters will go up on an opponent and their reserves will lose the lead.

Or the reserves will seize the lead and the starters will give it back.

More than a month into the season, the Clippers are still trying to get equal production from their first and second units.

“I would like both units to play well one game the whole game,” Rivers said. “That would be great.”

The Clippers took a step in that direction Monday over the game’s final 35 minutes after some initial shoddy defense by the starters. The reserves embarked on a 17-2 run starting early in the second quarter before the starters returned and eventually extended the lead to as many as 37 points.

Part of the Clippers’ problem has been slow starts by reserves Jordan Farmar and Spencer Hawes, still acclimating to their new team.

“Our bench has been up and down,” Rivers said. “We have to get them more consistent.”



When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Magic 7-13; Clippers 12-5.

Record vs. Magic: 1-0.

Update: The Clippers’ current stretch of seven wins in eight games started with a 24-point rout of the Magic, still in full rebuilding mode more than two years after Dwight Howard’s departure. One major building block for the Magic is center Nikola Vucevic, the former USC standout who is averaging double figures in points and rebounds for the third consecutive season. The Magic blew a late lead to the Warriors on Tuesday.

Twitter: @latbbolch