CRAWFORD CAN DEAL WITH ‘UPS AND DOWNS’ OF BEING A SCORER
Jamal Crawford’s 2014 postseason debut did not go as he might have planned.
After returning from a left calf strain a week prior Crawford was intent on “shaking off the rust” before the Playoffs started.
In three appearances since his comeback from an injury that nagged him for nearly seven weeks, Crawford seemed to be finding himself. His comfort level and legs were beginning to return and so too was his rhythm.
In Portland to close out the regular season he took 25 shots and scored 34 points. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers implored the Sixth Man of the Year candidate to shoot “every time he touched the ball.”
As the game wore on Crawford looked more like himself, even converting his 41st career 4-point play in the second half. After two days of practice leading into Game 1 his calf was no longer an issue.
But he could not get going in the helter-skelter loss on Saturday. He went 2-for-11. One of his field goals was a half-court bank shot at the end of the first quarter and the other a runner that he hit in the fourth while falling out of bounds.
“I felt great,” Crawford said Sunday prior to practice. “Shots I normally make. I think if I shoot those shots, pretty much every time they’ll go in. Sometimes you think too much and aren’t as aggressive. I’ll go back to being how I’ve been all year.”
He was not limited by the calf, even though he continues to wear a neoprene sleeve on his left leg.
Still looking for a rhythm or not, Crawford is chalking up Game 1 to an off day that happens to scorers every now and again. It just doesn’t happen to him for many prolonged periods.
In his 14-year career, Crawford has had plenty of games taking at least 11 shots and making less than 30 percent. All scorers have. But he’s only done that twice in a row four times since 2008.
“I’m not the person that when he has an off shooting game is going to make excuses,” Crawford said. “I’ve been scoring a lot longer than I haven’t been in my life, so I can deal with the ups and downs of it.”