Clippers’ Jamal Crawford on the Sixth Man award

Jamal Crawford took the news that New York’s J.R. Smith was awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man award Monday in stride, with Smith’s groundswell coming from a late-season push from the East Coast.
“Congrats to J.R. He had a heck of a season as well,” Crawford said, adding that he texted his best wishes to Smith. “There are definitely guys who are deserving. Jarrett Jack had a great season, Kevin Martin had a great season, J.R., myself as well so salute to all those guys.
“I can’t say I was shocked because I saw where it was going over the last couple weeks, I guess. I look at a whole season from start to finish, but I saw what people started kind of started going with toward the end.”
Crawford averaged 16.5 points per game off the bench this season and was third in the league in fourth-quarter scoring behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro pointed out Crawford’s obvious talent — scoring — but ran down a laundry list of other things the 13-year veteran brings.
“Makes plays off the dribble, teams double-team him, it opens up the court for other players, makes passes off the pick-and-rolls, plays with tempo, stretches the defense,” Del Negro said. “He’s given me a very good effort defensively, he’s given me a very good effort from day 1. All those things about him being a scorer — yeah, that’s what he’s known for and he’s really good at it, especially when he gets going. But all the other intangibles he’s been able to help us with helps us win games.
“He’s been a huge catalyst for us from day 1 and the whole season. It’s hard for me to look at it and say Jamal didn’t deserve that. But we can’t control the voting.”
Crawford, who won the award in 2011 with Atlanta, was glad he could atone for his performance in Portland last season, when he averaged 13.9 points and shot only 38 percent from the field.
“To be perfectly honest., coming into the season, winning the Sixth Man or All-Star wasn’t on my radar,” Crawford said. “It was more kind of getting my respect back because people thought I had lost a step going to Portland. That motivated me to come in and be ready this year. That was No. 1, and helping the team as best I can.”

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