BEST OF 2012-13: JAMAL CRAWFORD’S 3-POINTERS

Jamal Crawford is the Clippers’ single-season record holder for 3-pointers made, so it seems only right to compile a list of his best ones from 2012-13. He had a knack for bailing out lost possessions with a timely three. Matt Barnes recently called him the best “tough shot maker” he’s ever seen.

Crawford was one of the most clutch shooters from distance in the league as well. In games where the margin was within five points in the fourth quarter, Crawford shot 51.2 percent from 3-point range (21-of-41). That total was the best on the Clippers in those situations and sixth best in the league. It is also worth noting nobody ahead of him on the list attempted more than 30.

He converted four of his patented 4-point plays in the regular season, adding to his NBA record total. However, despite being some of his most exciting moments, none of them were as good or as meaningful as the five below. Taking into consideration the degree of difficulty, moment in the game and sheer style the following five were the best of Crawford’s 149 3-pointers last year:

5. Dec. 27, 2012 vs. Boston: Way Out There

There were plenty of examples last season of situations where the shot clock was nearing expiration and someone on the floor would get the ball to Crawford and essentially say, ‘Make a play.’ He rarely let anyone down. In Cleveland he heaved in a bank shot from about 28 feet after receiving a pass from Eric Bledsoe with less than three seconds to shoot. In the game after Christmas, against Boston, the possession for the Clippers unfolded with very little happening. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Caron Butler touched the ball before Butler got stuck on the right block and threw a ball over his head to Crawford as he tumbled to the floor. In one motion Crawford, with 2.2 seconds to shoot caught the ball off the bounce and elevated for a high-arching 3-pointer that ripped through the next at the shot-clock buzzer.

4. Mar. 29, 2013 at San Antonio: Tying up the Alamo

With the Clippers down by three, Tim Duncan missed a shot in the lane. The ball found its way to Paul, who pushed it ahead, directing traffic at the same time. Crawford settled into the right corner, in front of the Spurs bench, and Paul found him with 1:05 left in the game. The Spurs defense failed to locate him and Crawford drained the open shot much to the dismay of San Antonio’s broadcasters, who upon Crawford rising to shoot said, “Oh wow” and “that’s a colossal error.”

3. Mar. 3, 2013 vs. Oklahoma City: “For the lead!”

In one of the wildest games, and possessions, of the season, the Clippers scored seven points to take a brief lead at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. There was less than two minutes remaining when the Clippers made a 3-pointer and Griffin converted one of two foul shots following a controversial flagrant foul on Serge Ibaka. On the ensuing inbounds play, Crawford missed a 3-point attempt from straightaway, Matt Barnes got an offensive rebound, missed the put-back layup, and Griffin saved the possession with another offensive rebound. The ball was worked back to Crawford, waiting near the same spot he missed seconds earlier. This time he was money, completing an unprecedented seven-point possession and putting the Clippers ahead, 100-99. As it turned out, the Thunder would break Lawler’s Law to secure a 108-104 win.

2. Nov. 17, 2012 vs. Chicago: One Leg, Three Points

Considering Crawford’s sparkling start to the season, when he was not just leading all bench players in scoring, but was among the league’s best, there were plenty of highlights to choose from. However, nothing epitomized the Clippers’ dominate opening month more so than a six-game stretch that saw them upend the Heat, Bulls and Spurs. Crawford hit a brilliant 3-pointer over Ray Allen in the Miami game, crossing him up before drilling the shot over a tight contest. But this shot against the Bulls is even better. With Chicago making a brief push after a high-flying start by the Clippers, Crawford settles things down by sizing up Richard Hamilton, losing his dribble, regaining it and creating just enough space on a hard drive to his left to make an off-balance 3-pointer off one leg.

1. Apr. 17, 2013 at Sacramento: The Clincher

It was quite a moment in Sacramento. The Clippers were forced to win the final game of the regular season to clinch home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against a Kings team playing what could have been its final game in California’s capital. Personally, Crawford was also seeking to become the Clippers’ single-season record holder from 3-point range. He notched that mark in the second quarter, but saved his best performance for the final three minutes. He made two 3-pointers in consecutive possessions, flipping a one-point deficit into a five-point lead. The first shot (below) was the more challenging of the two. Much like the aforementioned 3-pointer he made against Boston, Crawford received the ball with the shot clock dwindling down. He danced with the ball in front of Travis Outlaw, keeping him off balance and firing a rainbow 3-pointer over Outlaw’s outstretched arm. Kings broadcaster Grant Napear, who is often complimentary of Crawford, yells, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” It was sort of par for the previous 75 games Crawford played for the Clippers last year.