One could probably lose the three-point shooting contest at All-Star weekend just thinking about the other contestants.
The field will include Stephen Curry, the defending champion and reigning NBA most valuable player; Klay Thompson, a shooter so skilled he once made three-pointers in the dark during a televised special; and fellow All-Stars Kyle Lowry, James Harden and Chris Bosh.
Also competing will be Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick, who said he wasn’t worried about anyone he has to beat on Feb. 13 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, with one exception.
It’s Redick versus Redick, as far as he’s concerned.
“You’re going against yourself and the clock,” Redick said Saturday. “If I shoot how I expect to shoot, with no defense, I think I’ll have a chance to win.”
Redick didn’t even make it past the first round last year in his first appearance in the three-point contest, finishing seventh out of eight participants. His footwork was a problem because he continually stepped on or over the line.
That might lead to a new approach this time.
“I’m going to shoot three feet behind the line,” Redick joked.
One thing Redick will do is get plenty of practice. He said his agent had set him up with some racks and “money balls” in a Toronto gym, allowing Redick to get lots of shots up in the two days before the event.
Redick leads the NBA in three-point accuracy, having made 48.1% of his shots. He ranks seventh in the league with 124 three-pointers, putting him on pace to break his single-season franchise record of 200 from last season.
This setting might be a bit more challenging, however. Standing and shooting will require an adjustment for someone known for constantly moving around screens to free himself for shots.
“You’re just kind of yanking and throwing it up there,” Redick said, “so it’s a little different.”
Redick said he was able to participate after a family trip planned for All-Star weekend was canceled, allowing him and his wife to have “a little vacation in 15-degree weather” in Toronto. That could be somewhat optimistic since the forecast high for the day of the contest is nine degrees.
Redick will try to keep things toasty indoors with some hot shooting.
“My goal,” he said, “is to actually win it this year.”
Two words from Doc Rivers have made a big difference for Jamal Crawford: be aggressive.
That’s what the Clippers coach recently told his sixth man, triggering his best stretch of the season. Crawford has averaged 20.6 points over his last five games while shooting 52.1% and making all 22 free throws.
“I think he was trying to fit in too much and he’s a scorer,” Rivers said. “Scorers have to be aggressive. Scorers don’t need to fit in; everybody else should fit in around them.”
Crawford acknowledged being a bit passive in the first half of the season while playing alongside eight new teammates. Now that he has a new directive, that’s no longer an issue.
“For me, that takes no thinking,” Crawford said of being aggressive. “I just go.”
Reserve forward Lance Stephenson made all six of his shots against the Orlando Magic on Friday, but he wasn’t perfect. “He made some pretty big defensive mistakes,” Rivers said. “But he’s learning and he wants to learn and wants to get better.” . . . The Clippers held a light practice at AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday that also served as a shoot-around because their game against the Miami Heat is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. EST Sunday.
CLIPPERS AT MIAMI HEAT
When: 11 a.m. PST.
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena.
On the air: TV: Channel 7; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Clippers 33-17, Heat 29-22.
Record vs. Heat: 1-0.
Update: Clippers reserve guards Austin Rivers (bruised left hand) and Pablo Prigioni (facial bruise) are listed as questionable, with Coach Doc Rivers saying their status would not be clear until shortly before game time. The coach indicated that of the two, Prigioni was “more probable” to play. Miami has gone 6-2 since veteran center Amare Stoudemire moved into the starting lineup. The change hasn’t hurt the productivity of new backup Hassan Whiteside, who recorded a triple-double that included 10 blocked shots on Friday against Charlotte.
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