QUICK AND IN A HURRY: Clipper reserve Jamal Crawford averages 19 points per game coming off the bench, but has also proven he can carry the team to victory if necessary. File Photo
L.A.’s Now Team Get Their Push From The Bench
Despite coming off the bench to give the Clippers a push, Jamal Crawford is the second leading scorer on the team behind Blake Griffin with an average of 19.0 points 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds. He’s having an incredible season.
Crawford is making a statement this year after falling victim last season to J.R. Smith to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award. And his voice is being heard.
When J.J. Redick and Chris Paul went down with an injury Crawford minutes increased. Back in February Crawford was one of the hottest shooters in the league; he went on a 15-game streak scoring double-digit points in every game. Including two 30-point performances. Once he gets hot, it’s a strenuous task trying to cool him down. Crawford is a player that you can depend on to deliver. It doesn’t matter if he’s in the starting lineup or has to come off the bench this dude is a baller.
“He’s just different,” Head Coach Doc Rivers said.
The 34-year-old has finally found a stable place he can call home. With the support from Paul and Griffin, Crawford has been able to a play his game with no filter. He’s become a huge part of the Clippers playbook. The Clippers have started to rely on Crawford’s talent a lot and that’s one of reasons why he has been able to perform at such a high level.
Crawford is taking on a larger role this year under Rivers. He is known for his ball handling skills and crossovers that he uses to break defenders ankles. But he want’s to be an all-around player on the court. With his thriller moves and sweet feet, he could certainly use his talent in more than one-way.
“I want to be more than an offensive threat, Crawford said. I feel like I can contribute a lot on defense as well. “I want to be more than an offensive threat. I feel like I can contribute a lot on defense as well. “
Rivers is a defensive-minded coach, so becoming a better defensive player is a prerequisite for every athlete that plays for him. And with Crawford’s special abilities and athleticism, it makes him a very attractive candidate for the challenge.
“It’s easy to play individual defense, Rivers said. It’s hard to play team defense because it requires trust and you have to build it.”
During the summer, Crawford said “yes” he would like a chance to be a starter in response to a fan asked him via twitter. I think under Rivers, he can eventually be a starter in the years to come but only time will tell.
Through it all he’s managed to maintain a positive attitude and accept the duty coming off the bench. That’s the kind of attitude you want on your roster. His mentality proves it’s not about individuality; it’s about the team. The Clippers are no longer a laughing stock. They are one of the most reputable teams in the NBA. The veteran has earned much respect around the league; players speak very highly of him. He’s also arguably the best sixth man in the NBA.
As for now the 14-year veteran has been ordered to shut down all basketball activity for the moment because of a left strained calf. Crawford got hurt on Feb .29 against the Houston Rockets. After missing three consecutive games, Crawford made an attempt to come back but was still disturbed by pain. The Clippers coaching staff then made a decision to keep him grounded until he’s 100 percent.
"I just have to get it stronger because I don't want the same pain to continue to bother me going into the playoffs," Crawford said.