J.J. Redick makes debut for Clippers

J.J. Redick scored 14 points in his debut and the Clippers used their reserves to fend off Utah, 103-99, at Staples Center Wednesday night and now have only one preseason game left until next week’s season opener against the Lakers.
Chris Paul had 14 points and 10 assists, Blake Griffin scored 15 points, Jamal Crawford had 16 off the bench and Darren Collison had 14 of his 15 points in the second half as the Clippers improved to 5-2 heading into Friday’s home game against Sacramento.
Redick, who had a thigh contusion, started and played 20 minutes.
“I felt good to play, it felt good to be part of the game,” Redick said. “It’s frustrating to watch six games. I have a little bit of ways to go cardio wise . . . but I’ll get that going.
“My body feels great. We handled this injury the correct way. I’m glad I got the MRI, initially we treated it as just a bruise but it was a little bit more than that. The biggest thing is being in better game shape.”
It remains to be seen if Redick will be in the starting lineup in the opener, among the many determinations Coach Doc Rivers still must make.
“I don’t know if we’re ready (for the regular season) but I’m ready to get going,” Rivers said. “We hope we’re ready enough to win games.”
Rivers did express concern over his club’s team defense, which he said has not maintained to progress it started with as training camp opened.
“We’ve gone back and forth,” Rivers said. “I thought we took a step back the last two games, honestly. The second half was much better.
“Defensively, even though we’ve regressed the last couple games, I think we’re where we need to be. Offensively we have a lot of work to do.”
“Yeah, it hasn’t been as good,” Griffin said of the defense. “We need to get back to talking and being active defensively and making sure we don’t give up easy baskets but hopefully we can iron those things out in the next four or five days.”
Rookie Reggie Bullock also made his debut after nursing a sore knee. He played five minutes and didn’t score.
“Just wanted to get him in today. I’ll play him a lot more on Friday,” Rivers said. “It was good for him, to just get going a little. He kind of broke down defensively, getting away from the body.”

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