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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
- 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.
- 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.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters about 11 a.m. Saturday morning that heralded sixth-man Jamal Crawford will play in the afternoon game against the visiting Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
Crawford had missed the past five games with a strained left calf. He previously missed eight of nine games before playing five consecutive games ahead of going back on the shelf.
Rivers was queried as to how many minutes he expects Crawford to play.
“We’re not going to go out there and throw him out there for 30 minutes, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “There’s not an actual minute restriction, but there’s a restriction.. We’re 0-for-2 in the comebacks of Jamal so far. So, yeah, I think at least with him the first two times it was pretty clear, you know, that he was struggling. We’ll keep a close eye on him.”
Crawford is averaging 18.6 points.
Coach Doc Rivers has had to do a lot of mixing and matching this season because of injuries to key players such as Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, J.J.Redick and Matt Barnes. They have gotten away with it, for the most part, as they enter Sunday’s game against the Lakers with a terrific record of 54-23, third best in the NBA.
Rivers is happy about that, but he reminded reporters at practice Saturday morning that the regular season is one thing, the post-season another.
“You don’t really want to do that in the playoffs, or have to do that in the playoffs,” Rivers said. “Teams are all good in the playoffs. You can get away with mixing and matching and having guys out, but it’s hard to get away with that during the playoffs. In the regular season, yes.
“I think it’s good our guys are all ready and available because you do need that in the playoffs. But being forced to do it (mix and match), I don’t think we want to be in that position.”
Right now, of course, the Clippers don’t have all their players readily available. Super sixth man Crawford is out with a left calf strain/Achilles injury that won’t go away. And reserve forward Danny Granger is out with a hamstring injury. Crawford is averaging 18.6 points, so he is really needed.