BEST OF 2012-13: JAMAL CRAWFORD CROSSOVERS

Clippers Sixth Man ace and scoring star Jamal Crawford has made it clear that even the best crossovers and dribble moves have to come with a finish. He’s arguably the best in the league at making sure he doesn’t have a “dollar move with a dime finish.” Through much of his 2012-13 campaign, his first with the Clippers, Crawford wowed with his ability to not only put on a dribbling exhibition but finish it off with a hoop. Moreover, his moves, and finishes, often garner some of the better reactions from commentators as they’re unfolding. Here are the five best crossovers from @JCrossover last season (with a notable comment from the broadcast team next to it):

5. Dec. 25, 2012 vs. Denver Nuggets: The Christmas Crossovers

The Clippers raced away from the Nuggets in the second quarter of the Christmas Day finale at Staples Center. They put on quite a show, including one of Chris Paul’s best passes of the year, and a number of fast-break alley-oops. But Crawford took the Christmas exhibition to a whole new level TWICE. During the breakneck second quarter, Crawford zipped his way around Andre Iguodala and duped Kenneth Faried with another move to nail runner. He also used a brilliant behind-the-back dribble to free himself for a layup around Andre Miller.

Commentator reaction to the Iguodala/Faried move: Jeff Van Gundy, “You didn’t need to say a word and you described it perfectly.”

Reaction to Andre Miller move: Billy Crystal, who was a guest in the ESPN booth at the time, “Boom! Shabbat Shalom.”

Iguodala on Christmas

Andre Miller on Christmas

4. Nov. 2, 2012 at Los Angeles Lakers: The Metta Around the World Peace

Talk about ring-around-the-rosey. Crawford literally makes Metta World Peace run around in circles during the first matchup between the Lakers and Clippers. World Peace, one of the league’s better perimeter defenders, gets lost on the first move, turns his back to the play, tries to recover and winds up giving up an open fallaway jumper to Crawford on the baseline. Notice the extra little screen from Blake Griffin to ultimately free Crawford up probably mattered very little considering how turned around the former Defensive Player of the Year was as the play unfolded.

Commentator reaction: Mike Tirico, “Jamal Crawford knocks down the jumper and look at the Clipper bench. They love that.”

3. Nov. 14, 2012 vs. Miami Heat: Ray Allen Gets Shuttlesworth’d

This crossover was so devastating it made Crawford’s teammate Ryan Hollins fall down and the victim, Ray Allen, stand near the top of the key and merely watch. Crawford set up Allen as he lures him to the sideline, wraps the ball behind his back, and gives him a hard right-to-left crossover that freezes Allen just enough to escape around Hollins’ screen. Crawford then weaves his way back in the direction of the hoop and nails a pull up from the elbow over Joel Anthony.

Commentator reaction: Mike Breen, “This place goes nuts when Jamal Crawford goes into his fancy dribble mode.”

2. Oct. 31, 2012 vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Stumbling, Bumbling, Sunk

This was quite an introduction to the lore of Jamal Crawford for Clippers fans. In a scintillating performance Crawford scored 29 points, helped the Clippers upend the Grizzlies in his team debut and topped it all with a marvelous jumper that left Rudy Gay on tumbling to the court. Crawford went left, then right, stopped, started, stopped again and went for the final move as Lamar Odom came up to set a screen on Gay. The Grizzlies forward slid past Odom but fell to the floor, off balance, as Crawford executed one more slight hesitation dribble before scoring on an easy runner. The hard part was already out of the way. 

Commentator reaction: Brian Sieman, “Behind the back. It looked like he played for the Globetrotters.”

1. Jan. 26, 2013 at Portland Trail Blazers: Go Wes, Young Man

Prior to the Clippers’ first matchup at the Rose Garden in early November, Wesley Matthews talked briefly about Crawford, his former teammate, and how to deal with his crossover as a defender. “He really gets into his game when he’s free to dribble,” Matthews said that day. “A lot of people are scared to get crossed over and all that kind of stuff.”

The tough-minded Blazers guard insisted he wasn’t one of those afraid to get “crossed.” But maybe he should have been. Two months later, when the Clippers returned to Portland, Crawford unleashed one of the best crossovers of his career. He isolated Matthews at the top, dribbled hard to his right, slammed on the breaks and wrapped the ball around his back to his left hand. Matthews stuck with Crawford for a moment, but just as he reacted to the ball in Crawford’s left hand it was back in his right. Matthews was frozen and Crawford escaped to space a few feet closer to the rim for a wide open pull-up jumper with Matthews far behind, having already given up on the play.

Commentator reaction: Mike Smith, “Oh, baby.”