The Sixers may have fallen short in London, surrendering a 22-point lead to the Boston Celtics, but one gleaming positive was on show yet again. The form of J.J Redick has only been getting hotter in recent weeks and even 5,000 miles away from home, the veteran sharp-shooter was dominant.
Redick was a crucial cog in establishing that early lead for the Sixers. Shooting 4/6 from beyond the arc, the former L.A Clipper was lights out…but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Redick was just as efficient in practice, knocking down shot after shot and earning the nickname ‘red eye Redick’ from his teammates as his success continued.
In the month of January, Redick is hitting .524 from 3-point range and is averaging 21 points per game. The Sixers, Redick included, seem to be out of their winter slumber…one that saw the team drop 10 of 12 games. For Redick, there was far more to getting out of that than simply leading with words.
“It was important for me to play well too.” Redick explained in London prior to a team practice. “We hit our rough stretch, Jo missed some games, Cov missed a game or two, T.J missed some games, I was out two games. We had some guys out so getting guys healthy and back on the floor was big for us. The Denver win was huge as it was only the second time this season we won without Jo on the floor. We know we’re gonna face that situation again as the season progresses so we have to be prepared for that and hopefully replicate how we played Denver.”
Breaking a losing culture can be difficult for any team, let alone one who spent years under Sam Hinkie simply accepting it. The presence of Redick, Booker and numerous other veterans have played a vital part in turning that around and keeping generational young talent striving for more.
By now, Redick’s journey to the City of Brotherly Love has been well documented and so have the reasons behind his decision to join such a young roster. In the heart of the season, his ambition and admiration have not wavered.
“It’s great.” He said excitedly. “It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to Philadelphia. I wanted to play with these guys and be with a team that’s on the rise.”
As the Sixers continue to thrive on the perimeter, Redick’s finesse and reliability are becoming relied upon more and more. One of the league’s top 3-point threats, Redick opened up on what makes his shot so dangerous.
“The mind plays a big role in it. The visualization part of it, there’s a feel.” He said. “I always compare shooting to a Golf swing. There’s a muscle memory and a muscle sequencing that happens when your shot is perfect. Even in an imperfect environment where there are 9 other players on the court, if you can get that muscle memory right then the ball has a good chance of going in.”
The Sixers may have fallen to the Celtics, but Boston are after all one of the best teams in the league and are dominating a hot stretch of their own. Every cloud has a silver lining…and Redick is allowing the sun to pour through even after a tough loss.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports