Clippers' Darren Collison again starts in place of J.J. Redick

Clippers' Darren Collison again starts in place of J.J. Redick
Clippers guard J.J. Redick steals the ball away from Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson during a Clippers' win Nov. 29. Redick most likely will be in the Clippers' starting lineup once he returns from injury. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

It's a quandary Clippers Coach Doc Rivers would love to face.

J.J. Redick comes back from the bulging disc in his back that has sidelined him since early February, giving the Clippers a full complement of players. Who would Rivers put in his starting lineup in addition to regulars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan?


It would "most likely" be Redick and Matt Barnes, Rivers said Monday.

"If we think someone else is better suited, we'll do that," Rivers said, "but that would be a good lineup for us."

It doesn't appear to be a lineup the Clippers will trot out soon. Rivers said he didn't think Redick would play on the five-game trip that starts Wednesday in New Orleans and wasn't even sure whether the shooting guard would accompany the team.

Clippers guard Darren Collison started another game in Redick's spot Monday at Staples Center against the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford came off the bench for a third consecutive game, but Rivers said Crawford's status would be evaluated on a "game-by-game basis" until the team had all its players available.

"When we're at full strength," Rivers said, "it's an easy decision to bring him off the bench."

Crawford said he preferred coming off the bench, which he has done in 40 of the 63 games he has played this season.

"Come off the bench, for sure," Crawford said. "I think having J.J. out there, it gives the first unit a good rhythm. When he's out there, he's one of the top guys. Blake and C.P. tend to start off kind of slow and J.J.'s going, he's running, he gets eight points in the first quarter and it sets a tone for us when we come in."

Crawford does like to finish games, though, which has worked out well for the Clippers. He entered Monday averaging 6.7 points per game in the fourth quarter, trailing only Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (7.6) and Houston's James Harden (6.9).

"I think I was up there in the fourth quarter [for scoring]," said Crawford, among the leading candidates to win the NBA's sixth-man-of-the-year award, "so it's a nice balance with me coming off the bench."

Crawford was averaging 20.6 points and 3.3 assists while shooting 40.2% as a starter going into Monday versus averages of 17.2 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 43.3% as a reserve.

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