J.J. Redick, Clippers begin toughest stretch of the season with road trip
For the LA. Clippers, an already tough schedule to begin the season gets even tougher tonight and for the next two weeks. After having four back-to-back sets against a couple of difficult opponents as well as not having more than a single day off since the calendar flipped to November, the Clippers have embarked on a six-game, 11 day road trip.
The trip starts tonight in Dallas against the Mavericks, and L.A. will take on the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Orleans Pelicans on the trip. After facing the Pelicans on Friday, December 2nd, the Clippers will come back home to take on the Pacers on Sunday, December 4th.
By the end of this demanding stretch of games, the Clippers will have played 21 games without more than a day off in between, including clashes against the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, clearly have one of the toughest schedules in the league. So far, they’ve taken care of business and compiled a stellar 13-2 record, but the true tests will come on this long road trip.
Clippers’ shooting guard J.J. Redick, now in his 11th year in the league, spoke on this last month or so in the NBA, calling it one of the toughest he’s ever been in.
“This has been the toughest stretch, physically, that I can remember in a long time in my career,” Redick said ahead of Monday’s matchup against the Raptors. “Not having more than a day between games is tough. It takes it’s toll. Started the season nine in 14 days and don’t get another two-day break until the first week of December, so this is a tough stretch.
“It’s a big road trip for us; anytime you go out on the road, it can bring you together and hopefully with the start we’ve had, we can continue that on the road trip.
On top of already-tough schedule, Redick has two young kids at home now as well: his two year old, Knox, and a three month old, Kai. As any parent knows, being at home with newborns and getting proper rest don’t go hand-in-hand.
“It’s always challenging when the wife wakes you up early because both kids are up. I think that’s the biggest challenge for me. When I am home, trying to get as much sleep as possible with the newborn… I’m looking forward to this.”
“My wife hates me right now. There’s so much resentment in the house. I walk in my house and it’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ That’s resentment. It’s just building,” said Redick chuckling. “Twelve nights in a hotel. She’s letting me hear it, for sure.”
If playing through the schedule and being away from family isn’t enough, the Clippers also have to be away from home for one of the biggest family-oriented holidays of the year in Thanksgiving.
“Oh yeah, for sure. It’s always tough,” said Redick on missing Thanksgiving to be on the road. It’s probably my least favorite part of the job. I hate playing on holidays; I understand why we have to do it, but it’s pretty miserable.”
Backup point guard Raymond Felton, who’s playing in his 12th year in the NBA with his sixth different team, discussed the importance of morning shootarounds when the schedule is this jam-packed.
“Shootaround is basically practice for us. This is when we go through our execution, work on our defensive schemes. We kind of treat shootaround as a practice – we just dont have any other time.
“No days off is really no day off because you still gotta come in and get your work in just so you stay in shape, stay tuned up. We play every other day.”
Felton is no stranger to long road trips, and he’s been surprisingly good for the Clippers in their first 15 games of the season. He knows exactly what it takes to keep that level of play up, especially in these tough games away from home.
“We got a veteran team, so we’re used to it. We know what we have to do. Just got to make sure we get our rest, make sure we’re not doing anything extra outside of basketball. We’re pretty much playing and traveling , playing and traveling. I’m going to be away from my family on Thanksgiving, so just got to take these games, enjoy it, and go hit this six-game road trip, hopefully we can be 6-0 on this trip.”