C.J. Wilcox hopeful Jamal Crawford will take him ‘under his wing’

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Wilcox Part of Crowded Depth Chart

C.J. Wilcox/photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

It’s kind of cool that shooting guard C.J. Wilcox could be competing with Jamal Crawford for playing time next season as the Clippers’ first-round draft choice plays the same position. Of course, Crawford is established and Wilcox is going to be a rookie, so it’s not likely Crawford will have to worry about getting enough minutes of his own.

Interestingly, the two know each other. Wilcox played college ball at University of Washington, and Crawford is from Seattle.

“He’s up in Seattle every summer, so he’s been in a lot of open gyms and a lot of runs,” Wilcox said. “I’ve competed against him and been around guys who are really close with him, so I know we’ll probably be able to mesh a little bit since we’ve spent some summers together up in Seattle and going against each other. Hopefully, he’ll take me under his wing and show me the ropes since I went to school in Seattle and he’s from that area. … I think he’ll help me take some strides.”

 

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Jamal Crawford contributed quite a bit to Clippers, and he’ll be back for more

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Jamal Crawford, Andre Iguodala

Photo by Associated Press

Any time you have a guy coming off the bench who averages more points than three of your starters, that’s a heck of a good thing.

Jamal Crawford was that man for the Clippers this past season. After averaging 16.5 points in 2012-13 in his first season with the club, he came back with an 18.6 scoring average in this just-concluded 2013-14 campaign. Crawford also averaged 3.2 assists, demonstrating he could run the team when Chris Paul was hurt or just not on the floor. Again, a very nice thing to have from a player known mostly as a deadly shooter when he’s hot.

While it’s true that Crawford has never shot for a real high average – he has a career shooting percentage of 41.1 percent – he has the knack for making several 3-pointers in succession from tough angles with players in his face. It’s just the kind of thing that can turn a game around in a hurry.

For example, Blake Griffin told this newspaper toward the end of the season that Crawford is the player teams have to look out for most when he’s hot. Indeed, he is a game-changer.
Crawford shot 41.6 percent (421 of 1,011) overall in 2013-14, 36.1 percent (161 of 446) from 3-point range. For his efforts, he was chosen Sixth Man of the Year for the second time in his career. Oh, and by the way, Crawford also shot 86.6 percent from the free-throw line this past season and has an 85.5-percent percentage over his 14-year career.

Crawford, who battled a calf strain in the latter part of the season, also brings a very strong character to the clubhouse, something of which a team can never have enough.

He’s not perfect, of course. Like all shooters, he gets in slumps and has games where he contributes less than usual. If there is a criticism, it’s that. But you don’t average 18.6 points off the bench by having many poor outings.

Crawford, 34, even seemed to improve his defense, at the behest of coach Doc Rivers.

The best thing of all, Crawford is signed with the Clippers through the 2015-16 season. He is slated to make $5,450,000 in 2014-15.

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Jamal Crawford doesn’t want to speak on possible sale to Steve Ballmer until it is official

No sooner did the news hit Thursday that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would likely be the Clippers’ new owner pending NBA approval of his $2 billion bid to buy the team, did it become know that guard Jamal Crawford and Ballmer know each other.

We got a hold of Crawford through an exchange of direct messages on Twitter on Thursday night. He didn’t want to say much just yet, however.

“Hearing about the news, but don’t wanna speak on it until everything is official if that happens,” Crawford wrote.

Fair enough.

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Jamal Crawford says team will try to be even better in Game 2 at OKC

The Clippers had just run the Oklahoma City Thunder off their own court Monday, routing the hosts 122-105 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series. The Clippers led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter.

The win allowed the third-seeded Clippers to take away homecourt advantage away from the No. 2-seeded Thunder. Jamal Crawford, who scored 17 points off the bench for the Clippers, afterward intimated the team is not content with that.

“I think it just sets the tone for the series,” said Crawford, who shot 6 of 11 from the field, 3 of 6 from 3-point range. “Obviously, like I said, people want to split the road trip, but we can’t be satisfied with that. We feel like if we’re out there, it’s a competition. We’ll try and get better the next time.”

Game 2 is Wednesday at the same place.

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Report: Jamal Crawford wins Sixth-Man of the Year award

Jamal Crawford has won the NBA’s Sixth-Man of the Year Award, according to a report Wednesday on ESPN.com. The website cited “sources” and also stated that Crawford would have been given the award Tuesday at Game 5 of the Clippers’ Western Conference playoff series against Golden State at Staples Center, but that the NBA held back because of everything going on with now-banned team owner Donald Sterling.

Crawford averaged 18.6 points during the regular season. He becomes the fourth player in history to win the award twice, having previously won it in 2010. The other three players to win it two times were Detlef Schrempf, Ricky Pierce and Kevin McHale.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was not surprised to hear the news during a conference call Wednesday.

“He’s deserving of it,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if there is a more lethal weapon in the league that you could bring off the bench and the fact that he’s done more than that, to me, is why he’s won it because he’s done this in the past over the last couple of of years where he’s been so good offensively.

“But I actually think he won it because I think the voters saw him doing other things for the team, playing defense, running the team at the point guard position, especially when Chris Paul was out at times, and he’s just been the perfect utility player for our team. He’s been awesome.”

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Jamal Crawford’s shot looked much better in Game 3 against Warriors

Jamal Crawford has been struggling with his shot for a little while now, no thanks to a strained left calf that has hampered him for a couple of months.

Crawford is 11 of 30 from the field in the first three games of the Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors – 5 of 14 from 3-point range. But he was 5 of 11 and 3 of 6 during the Clippers’ 98-96 victory over the Warriors on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. That was noteworthy, coach Doc Rivers suggested Friday at the team’s hotel in San Francisco.

“Well, I think he needed it because when you’re not healthy, you need the ball to go in,” Rivers said, “and so I think it was good.”

Two of Crawford’s baskets came back-to-back late in the third quarter. He made a 3-pointer and then an 18-footer that gave the Clippers a 75-62 lead.

The Clippers lead this series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena.

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Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford hurting, but they’ll play Thursday night at Golden State in Game 3

Point guard Chris Paul and sixth-man Jamal Crawford are hurting a little, but they will play Thursday night when the Clippers play at Golden State in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series, which is tied 1-1.

Coach Doc Rivers discussed Paul and his sore right hamstring and Crawford and his strained left calf at Thursday’s shootaround.

“I think he’s OK,” Rivers said of Paul, who hurt the hamstring in Game 1, “but I’m just going to watch him. His is pretty obvious. You can tell right away if he’s struggling moving, so that’s not a hard one to read. I think Jamal is the more difficult one. Chris, the only good thing about that injury is, you know when it’s bothering him.”

Paul did very little at practice the previous two days.

“I didn’t do too much, but I’ll be ready,” Paul said.

Crawford, who missed significant time down the stretch of the regular season because of the calf, was asked if he would be playing were this not playoff time.

“It is,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can think about. It is the playoffs.”

Crawford reportedly tweaked the calf in Game 2.

“No question about it, I’ll be out there,” he said.

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Jamal Crawford says he’s still working on getting the rust off

Sixth-man Jamal Crawford has now been back for two games following a five-game stint on the bench because of a nagging left calf injury that had previously seen him miss eight of nine games.

He is struggling with his shot so far, which is understandable. He made 3 of 8 from the field in a victory over Sacramento on Saturday and just 3 of 9 in Tuesday’s victory over Denver; in the latter, some of his shots were real bricks.

Crawford, who is averaging 18.4 points, doesn’t seem concerned. He said his calf is just fine.

“Calf is good, calf is really good,” he said following Tuesday’s game. “Just keep working through it. That’s what some practices look like that you guys don’t see, when the rust is coming off. Sometimes you’ve got to do it in front of 20,000 (fans), but that’s all right. The quicker I get the rust off, the better.”

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 117-105 victory over Denver on Tuesday

- Jamal Crawford’s outside shot was way off in this one. He was 3 of 9 from the field, 0 of 3 from 3-point range and he tossed up a couple of serious bricks. Since he has battled his calf injury for so long, this performance could create some worry. But not for teammate Blake Griffin. “I’m not concerned, definitely not,” he said. “Jamal will be ready to play. Everybody has an off game, if you even want to call it that. But Jamal is the least of our concerns, the least of my concerns, for sure.”

- It’s almost hard to believe that one player could amass as many as 16 technical fouls in a season. Griffin got his 16th in this one, though it could be rescinded. Still, whether it’s 15 or 16, it kind of boggles the mind. Then again, it’s Griffin’s intensity that helps make him the great player he’s become.

- Man, J.J. Redick was stroking that 3-pointer. He looked really good in making 4 of 6 from long distance, and his return to form could not come at a better time with the playoffs knocking on the door.

- Check out the line of Chris Paul: 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting, 3 of 5 from 3-point range; 10 assists; two steals; and just one turnover in 28 minutes. Not too shabby.

- DeAndre Jordan’s poor free-throw shooting was again a topic of conversation on press row. He missed his first seven before making his eighth, after which he received a round of applause. Interestingly, it’s not like he’s tossing up a laser that bounces 12 feet off the rim when he misses, the way other players do who struggle from the line. His shot is soft and often on line. Then it will hit the front of the rim and fall almost straight down. It seems like he’s close to making more. But his six-year career percentage of 42.5 suggests otherwise. He is shooting 42.8 percent this year.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ franchise-tying 56th victory

- It was of course great to see Jamal Crawford back out there. Even better was that he hit two clutch 3-point baskets to help his team pull away for the 117-101 victory over a poor yet stubborn Kings team on Saturday.

- Yes, it was the franchise-tying 56th victory of the season for the Clippers. That’s all good, but that won’t mean much of the Clippers don’t advance past the first round of the playoffs.

- Unless something weird happens, DeAndre Jordan is about a lock to finish as the NBA’s regular-season leader in field goal percentage and rebounding. He is currently averaging 13.7 rebounds, ahead of second-place Andre Drummond of Detroit (13.2). With his 9-for-13 performance against the Kings, he’s now shooting 67.5 percent from the field; Drummond is second at 62.5. Only two other players have ever led the league in both categories – Wilt Chamberlain (8 times) and Dwight Howard.

- That said, Jordan needs to improve his free-throw shooting. That’s not news. But he was just 3 of 11 against the Kings, dropping his season average to 43.4 percent. It’s true that he was even worse last season – 38.6 percent – but still, he’s gotta get better there. He’s shooting 42.7 percent in his six years in the league.

- We say this a lot, but man oh man, you have got to love the way Blake Griffin plays. The man is a beast, but he’s also become a great passer. He had nine assists against the Kings, and some of them were beautiful things to see.

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