His opening game with the Clippers was long over. The locker room was emptying and for a short time the Los Angeles media, waiting for the team’s instant Sixth Man of the Year candidate, seemed to wonder if he would arrive at all.

Anyone who knows Jamal Crawford, even the slightest, knew he would be there.

Crawford, a slender 6-foot-5 shooting guard, emerged from a backroom with the same comforting look he seemingly always greets people with. He smiles, makes eye contact, shakes hands, and puts others at ease.