Sixth-man Jamal Crawford is no longer in a funk with his shooting rhythm

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Not that Jamal Crawford is the type to lose confidence, but he had to have breathed a sign of relief after his performance in Sunday’s 107-92 victory over the defending NBA-champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series at Staples Center.

Crawford scored 17 points. More importantly, he shot 7 of 10 from the field – 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Considering he had made just 10 of 36 shots (27.7 percent) in the final four regular-season games after missing the previous 17 with a calf injury, that was more than noteworthy. That’s probably why Crawford couldn’t stop smiling afterward.

“Me and Chris (Paul) talk about it all the time,” Crawford said. “We’re consumed in basketball every single day of our lives. To be out five weeks and not be able to do anything but watch, I mean, you can take some good things from it.

“But it was more bad than good for me because you want to be out there so bad and help your team and just be part of the guys. … The injury is one thing, then coming back and conditioning and trying to get a rhythm, all that stuff sucks. But you’ve go to go through the process sometimes.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-92 Game 1 victory over San Antonio

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Jamal Crawford had shot just 10 of 36 (27.7 percent) from the field in four games since returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss 17 consecutive games. To see him shoot 7 of 10 – 3 of 4 from 3-point range – and score 17 points in this game was nothing more than a really terrific thing for the Clippers. They need all they can get from a bench not nearly as deep as San Antonio’s.

– You could see it by the look of determination Chris Paul had on his face. There was just no way the Clippers were going to lose this game if he had anything to say about it. He scored 32 points on 13 of 20 from the field – 3 of 5 from beyond the arc – and also pulled down seven rebounds while doling out six assists. Doesn’t get much stronger than that. Will this be the year Paul and the Clippers get past the second round? Stay tuned.

– As good as Paul was, Blake Griffin was almost as good. He scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, had six assists and three blocked shots in an overall fine performance. He also showed some of the ferocity we don’t see quite as much since he added the outside game to his repertoire by throwing down a mean tomahawk dunk in the third quarter for a 77-61 lead. Griffin also wore that winning look.

– Even though the Clippers emerged victorious, one has to wonder if San Antonio’s deeper bench will eventually play a larger role in determining the outcome of these games. The Spurs got 43 points from six reserves, the Clippers got the 17 points from Crawford and only five more from two other players combined. The Clippers’ starters played many more minutes than their San Antonio counterparts. Griffin played nearly 43 minutes, DeAndre Jordan played over 38 minutes and Paul nearly 38. Kawhi Leonard played the most minutes for the Spurs at 33. Will the Clippers starters tire out if this continues?

– We can’t leave out the fans. They were as good as they have been all year, with the Spurs getting only a few cheers from a few people. The Clippers notice when fans at their Staples Center root for the opponent, and it was a good thing that almost all the love was for the Clippers in this one. When Griffin threw down that aforementioned monster slam, the Clippers faithful went absolutely wild.

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Clippers lead Spurs 49-43 at halftime in Game 1 at Staples Center

Blake Griffin scored 13 points, Jamal Crawford had nine and Chris Paul and J.J. Redick seven apiece and the Clippers led the San Antonio Spurs 49-43 at halftime of Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Sunday at Staples Center.

The Clippers shot 47.2 percent from the field.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with nine points. San Antonio shot just 35.6 percent.

DeAndre Jordan scored five points for the Clippers, all on free throws as the Spurs went to the Hack-a-DJ late in the half. Jordan was 5 of 12 from the free-throw line.

 

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Doc Rivers has ‘zero’ concern about Jamal Crawford’s struggles since return

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford played the last four games of the regular season after missing the 17 previous games with a calf injury. Crawford has struggled since his return, making just 10 of 36 from the field, which equates to 27.8 percent. He’s made just 4 of 19 from 3-point range for 21.1 percent.

Prior to Game 1 of the team’s Western Conference first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night at Staples Center, coach Doc Rivers was asked what his level of concern is in this regard.

“Zero,” Rivers said. “Jamal will be fine. it just takes time. He’ll be good.”

Keep in mind that Crawford averages 15.8 points on the team, so he’s an integral part of the offense.

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Chris Paul says Clippers definitely more prepared for this go-round with Spurs

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Chris Paul’s first season with the Clippers was 2011-12. Paul helped the Clippers to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they were swept by in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Clippers will play the Spurs in the first round beginning Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. Paul was queried at practice this week as to whether his team is more prepared for this go-round with San Antonio. Paul answered sharply.

“If we’re not better prepared now than we were three years ago,” Paul said, “then we probably shouldn’t even play.”

The team in ’11-’12 had Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin but not Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford.

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Jamal Crawford believes victory over Spurs would create optimum confidence

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

When you are the defending NBA champions, the world of respect is at your feet. It therefore wasn’t surprising to hear what Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford said when asked what it would mean for his team to defeat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

“Our confidence is already high, but I could see it being at an all-time high,” Crawford said.

Game 1 is Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center.

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Jamal Crawford stoked Clippers clinched homecourt advantage for first round

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers (55-26) still don’t know who they will play in the first round of the upcoming playoffs, but they have clinched homecourt advantage for that first round, thanks to their 110-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at Staples Center.

Jamal Crawford had a poor shooting night – he was 1 of 6 for three points – but his 3-point play down the stretch helped stave off a Denver team with nothing to lose; the Nuggets  are 30-51.

Crawford was stoked to hear his team will start the playoffs at Staples Center.

“That is huge,” Crawford said. “Like I talked about before the game, the fans have been there through good and bad times. I think they can help push us to the next level, so that is good for us.”

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Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz in Game 7 against Golden State in ’14

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

With the playoffs fast approaching, the Clippers still don’t know who they’ll play in the first round or whether they will have the homecourt advantage, which proved vital to the Clippers in 2014 when they took on Golden State in the first round.

The Clippers had homecourt advantage in that one, and it was a good thing because the Warriors have a great crowd at Oracle Arena and had Game 7 been there, the result might have been different. As it was, the Warriors were up by eight points at halftime in Game 7 at Staples Center before the Clippers emerged with a 126-121 victory to advance to the second round against Oklahoma City.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz at Staples Center.

“I remember when we came on the court, it was electric,” Crawford said. “The crowd was into it, they were fired up and it was truly a win-or-go-home moment for us because we had to get it done.”

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Five things to take from the Clippers’ 105-100 victory over the Lakers

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– It figured it would be more difficult to dispatch the lowly Lakers in this one if for no other reason than professional pride. The Lakers were embarrassed Sunday, getting down by 43 points before losing by 28 (106-78) and there was probably no way that was going to happen again just two days later with that butt-kicking fresh in the minds of not only the Lakers, but the Clippers. It’s called human nature.

Jamal Crawford’s return after missing the previous 17 games with a calf injury went about as expected. A rhythm shooter, Crawford was bound to be rusty, and he was. After making his first shot, he made only one more to finish 2 of 7 from the field with four points. Afterward, he said the 19 minutes felt more like 35 to his legs. Crawford should be back to being Crawford in another game or two.

J.J. Redick once again improved upon the best season of his career by scoring 27 points. He made 9 of 14 from the field, 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Redick has leapfrogged Crawford as the team’s third-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game; Crawford is now at 16.2. Redick averaged 20.6 points in March and he’s at 22.3 in four games this month. He’s shooting 47.8 percent from the field, 43.9 from beyond the arc; both numbers are career bests. The 30-year-old is in his ninth season.

Blake Griffin had a terrific game with 27 points on 11 of 20 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot. As important as any of that, Griffin hit a big jump-shot with 28.3 seconds to play that went a long way in staving off the hard-playing Lakers. That gave the Clippers a 100-94 lead.

– One of the best things about this game – certainly for the fans – is that Lakers coach Byron Scott did not resort to that ridiculous hack-a-DJ ploy, purposely fouling the poor free-throw shooting DeAndre Jordan. Jordan took just two shots from the free-throw line, missing both. He scored only eight points. But as he often does when he doesn’t score much, he pulled down a whopping 17 rebounds and blocked three shots.

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Jamal Crawford rusty in return in win over Lakers, but Doc Rivers expected that

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford returned to the court Tuesday in the Clippers’ 105-100 victory over the Lakers. He did not have a terrific game – he scored four points on 2 of 7 shooting – but coach Doc Rivers was fine with that.

“He played all right,” Rivers said of Crawford, who missed 17 consecutive games with a calf injury. “He was rusty a little bit, but that was good. Again, that is why we are happy to have him back because now he has time to get his rhythm going.”

The Clippers (53-26) have just three regular-season games remaining before it’s playoff time.

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