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Finally, J.J. Redick Makes His Mark

Given Vince Carter's struggles, the Orlando Magic should count themselves fortunate that they're within striking distance of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, trailing 3-2 and facing elimination tonight in Game 6. But as was the case during Carter's January slump, J.J. Redick has stepped up and produced admirably. At this point, it's fair to ask, "where would the Orlando Magic be without Redick?" The answer depends on where their players plan to vacation once the season ends, and I'm only half kidding.

12 points in 27 minutes per game, on 70.3% True Shooting, for Orlando's backup two-guard in this series, scoring in double-figures three times and reaching exactly 9 points twice. He's certainly impressed Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who likened him to Pistol Pete Maravich and said, "I think J.J. Redick has been their most consistent player in this series." And Kelly Dwyer devoted an entire post to praising him yesterday "[d]espite that thing on [his] chin."

The point here? Not too long ago, Redick was fed up with not playing and wanted a trade. He stuck with it. The Magic stuck with him. And now his strong play has them tantalizingly close to pulling off a historic comeback and earning their second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. It's nice when things work out for the best, isn't it?