By Lewis Gould
Sixers bomber JJ Redick redeemed a terrible first half the other night against the Cavs in which he shot 2-for-8 from the floor (and missed three of four threes) with a 4-for-7/3-for-3 second half that included a four-point play.
He matched Embiid’s 17 points (nine fewer than Ben Simmons’ team-high total), a rare uptick amid a rough patch.
He is the ultimate hired gun, making over $12 million this year, his second with the Sixers and 13th in the NBA, but lately has been firing only blanks. Over his previous nine games he averaged just 12.3 points on 29.6 percent shooting (29 percent from deep), and twice during that stretch, against Portland and Houston, he made just a single shot (in 10 and 11 attempts, respectively). Last year he had one such game, among the 70 he played.
So this is exceedingly unusual. (Ditto for his respective percentages of .433 and .386, his lowest in six years.) Certainly Embiid’s absence was a factor. Beyond that, Redick is at a loss.
“My shot’s always where I want it to be,” he said. “Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t.”
He still puts the time in, still gets shots up — at age 34, he is nothing if not the consummate pro — and long ago reached an understanding that there are going to be times when his jumper feels right, and times when it does not. The last 10 days, he said, it has felt great. And the only miss he rued Tuesday was an unguarded 3-point try from the right corner with 2:39 left in the first half, after James Ennis reclaimed Redick’s miss and set him up for another salvo.
“You don’t get many wide-open shots like that, just on a kickout, where they lose you,” Redick said. “Other than that, the shots that I’m taking are the shots I’ve taken my whole career. I’m just going to keep taking them.”
He doesn’t believe he needs a day off, like the one Jimmy Butler received Tuesday. Nor does he need to rethink things.
And he’s certainly not overthinking them.
“It shakes your mood,” he said of his slide. “It doesn’t shake your confidence, no.”
Never up, never in — that’s been the shooter’s credo forever. Just keep firing until things look the way they looked before. There’s no other way to go about it, no other way JJ Redick knows.