Clippers Dominate Rockets 128-95: The 5 Things We Learned

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J.J. Redick has been key to this series — at both ends of the floor

May 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Redick has always been renowned for his three point shooting (he shot a career best this year of 43.7 percent from beyond the arc). But this series has been about far more than just his quick trigger.

His shooting has helped the Clippers as always, and his 31 points on 78.6 percent shooting in game three was far too much for the Rockets to handle, but his growing ability to keep Harden off the free throw line has been one of the most important aspects of L.A.’s resilient defense.

In Houston’s only victory this series in game two, Harden had 15 free throw attempts and made every single one. In the Clippers’ three wins, though, Harden has never surpassed 10 free throw attempts, including no more than six in games one and three.

He hasn’t been totally shut down on offense, but this still shows Redick has been up to the challenge of limiting his easy points.

When Redick discussed his defense on Harden this series, he said the following (per Rowan Kavner,

"“Specifically, I’m trying not to give him angles when he is (isolating) me. When he does get past me or get a step on me, just pull my hands back and keep him off the free-throw line.”"

He may not be as athletic as Harden, but Redick has used this tactic to keep up with him on defense to keep him off the line.

And no matter how helpful his 53.8 percent three point shooting has been this series, it’s Redick’s defense on Harden that has been just as important as anything else.