SHANGHAI, China — Fans of the 76ers might want to start booing JJ Redick at the Wells Fargo Center.
Booing is what Chinese fans did Friday morning at the sold-out Mercedes-Benz Arena and Redick responded by making all 10 of his shots — including seven three-pointers — in a 28-point effort against the Dallas Mavericks. Redick, who played 21 minutes and 40 seconds, sat out the fourth quarter of the Sixers' 120-114 victory in an NBA China preseason game.
His performance came one day after he was listed as questionable for the game because of gastroenteritis.
Redick was booed whenever he touched the ball because of what Chinese fans perceived as a racial slur by the shooting guard in a video last year. Redick, who has spoken out against racial inequality, has said it wasn't a slur. He said he simply became tongue-tied while speaking during a video for Chinese fans.
He expected to be booed whenever he touched the ball.
"They're obviously entitled and have the right to boo me," Redick said. "I probably would boo me, too."
But the boos turned immediately to cheers whenever he made a basket.
"It was the most polite booing that I ever received in my life," Redick said. "I mean they booed and they cheered. Think about that. You know, it's like, 'We're mad at you, but we appreciate the way you shoot a basketball.' "
Redick said his performance wasn't motivated by the fact that he knew the crowd would single him out. He realizes the video was a very unfortunate situation.
He's "deeply remorseful for offending so many people," said Redick, who is visiting China for the third time.
The 34-year-old had seven attempts in the first half and three in the third quarter. He scored 10 points in the first quarter after making four of his baskets, including a pair of threes. The 13-year veteran did shoot a long three-pointer after the buzzer had sounded at the end of the third quarter. He missed that shot. However, it wouldn't have counted because time had expired.
Redick said he purposely took an extra dribble to run out the clock before shooting to preserve his 10-for-10 night, preseason or not.
But he had an idea that he would have a good performance based on how well he shot during his pregame workout. Things felt effortless without a lot of wasted motion.
"It felt like if I could get a clean look, it was going to go in," Redick said.
Redick and Landry Shamet looked like they were trying to become the East Coast version of the Splash Brothers. The post-practice shooting-drill partners combined to make 7 of 8 three-pointers in the first half.
Shamet went 3-for-4 during the opening half en route to scoring 16 of his 18 points. The rookie out of Wichita State cooled off a bit after intermission, missing all three of his three-pointers.
Joel Embiid added 22 points, 10 rebounds and six turnovers in 23:58 for the Sixers (3-0). Ben Simmons had nine points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and five turnovers in 27:28. Like Redick, Simmons sat out the fourth quarter
Markelle Fultz struggled for the first time in three preseason games. The second-year guard, who's trying to overcome last season's shooting woes, had four points on 2-for-7 shooting. He missed his first five shot attempts before scoring a layup three minutes into the second quarter.
Dennis Smith Jr. paced Dallas (1-1) with 20 points, 15 of which came in the first quarter. Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson, a Villanova product, made four of five shots and scored nine points.
Embiid electrified the crowd of 15,992 erupted after he had an exchange with a fan seated courtside.
Moments earlier, a Dallas player attempted a shot during a break in the action. Embiid, who was underneath the basket, leaped and swatted the ball away. Unfortunately, a fan ended up getting hit with the errant swat. After realizing what happened, Embiid walked over to the fan to apologize and ended up kissing man on the forehead.
One fan got past security to take a selfie with Simmons. The point guard granted his request before the fan was taken away. Simmons also gave his game sneakers to a young fan.
But future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki was the main attraction even though he didn't play. The Mavericks power forward, who had ankle surgery in April, has yet to be cleared to play in his upcoming 21st NBA season.
He appeared several times on the scoreboard in Chinese skits for the fans. Nowitzki, a rock and roll guy, was even presented with a guitar by former Mavericks player Wang Zhi Zhi during a break in the action.
"This is my second time back [in China] this year," Simmons said, "So I kind of know what to expect in terms of the fans. The fans are probably the best fans around in terms of playing the game and the knowledge they have."
Simmons added that it's always a great opportunity to come to China for team bonding and to show Chinese fans the way the Sixers play.