2018-19 Season Rewind: Jamal Crawford

FINAL LINE

7.9 points. 3.6 assists. 1.3 rebounds.

39.7 FG%. 33.2 3P%. 84.5 FT%.

HIGHLIGHT PERFORMANCE

In the Suns final game of the season against the Dallas Mavericks, Jamal Crawford dropped a season-high 51 points to go along with his 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He shot 18-of-30 (60%) from the field, 7-of-13 (53.8%) from three-point range and 8-of-9 (88.9%) from the free throw line.

Crawford became the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 50 points and the first player to do so with four different teams (Suns, Warriors, Bulls, Knicks). His 51 points were also the most ever scored by a player coming off the bench since starts first started being recorded in 1970-71, according to Elias Sports Bureau. 

Over the season’s closing weeks, Devin Booker became the youngest with 50-plus in consecutive games and Crawford became the oldest to score 50. The 2018-19 Suns are the 10th team ever to have multiple players record 50-point games in the same season.

The last time Crawford scored 50 points in a game was with the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 20, 2008. His 51-point outing on April 9 marked the largest gap between 50-point performances in NBA history.

In Suns history, Crawford’s 51-point game was the sixth-most points trailing only Devin Booker (twice), Tom Chambers (twice) and Tony Delk. He scored 26 points in the fourth quarter, tying Stephon Marbury for the fourth-most points in a quarter in franchise history.

Crawford’s season-high 7 three-pointers at age 39, marked the second-oldest player in NBA history with 7-plus triple trailing only Vince Carter (42 years old) earlier this season.

With the performances of Crawford and Dirk Nowitzki (30 points), it marked the first game in NBA history that opposing players 39 or older each scored as many as 20-plus points in the same game.

J. CROSSOVER STILL PUTTING IN WORK

Crawford’s 19,414 career points are the most in NBA history by a player never to be selected as an NBA All-Star, surpassing FOX Sports Arizona analyst Eddie Johnson on Feb 13. His 11,274 career points scored when coming off the bench ranks 2nd on the NBA’s all-time bench scoring leaderboard, trailing only Lou Williams.

In each of his final three games of the season, Crawford scored 25-plus points, joining Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA history to do so in their 19th season or later. Over these final three games, Crawford averaged 35.3 points on 52.9% shooting, 5 three-pointers on 50% from beyond the arc, 6.3 free throws on 95% from the line plus 6 assists and 1.7 steals.

The Suns had six games this season either won or lost on a go-ahead field goal in the final three second of the fourth quarter or OT, including Crawford’s game-winner against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov 23.

This was Crawford’s 10th career game-winner in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, and first since 2016. His 10 career game-winners in the final 10 seconds spans over 14 years from his first to his most recent. Among active players, only Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul have more game-winner in the final 10 seconds. 

Crawford averaged a career-high 6.8 assists per 36 minutes, surpassing his previous career high established all the way back in 2002-03 when he averaged 6 per 36 minutes with Chicago in his third NBA season. The only player to average more assists per 36 in their 19th season or later is John Stockton in his 19th and final season of 2002-03. 

At 39 years old, Crawford is the third player in Suns history to play while 39 or older, joining Grant Hill and Mark West. Crawford was the third-oldest active player in the NBA this season with Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki. 

Crawford had a career-high 14 assists in his 1,289th career game at New York on Dec. 17. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the most games into a player’s career in NBA history that a player has recorded a career high in assists. He joined John Stockton and Steve Nash as the only players in NBA history to record 14-plus assists while 38 or older (Basketball-Reference).

WHAT HE’S SAYING 

“No game is meaningless to me. When I was a kid, I said I would pay the NBA to play in the NBA… Because I love basketball that much. I used to dream about this.   

SCORING 50: “You never do something like that by yourself. It’s your teammates getting you the ball, setting screens for you. It’s coach drawing up some great play, putting you in position. You just have to take advantage.”

CONTINUING HIS CAREER AT 39: “I can keep going. I don’t say that in a cocky way. I say that in a way that I stay in shape. I love the game so much. I really do. I’m nervous before every game I play. I’m nervous before every time I step on the court… Because it’s another chance to be alive.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

DEVIN BOOKER: “Just a true hooper. One of the vets I’ve became the most close with since I’ve been in Phoenix. Just the plane rides, the bus rides, the conversations that he has. The things he’s seen in this league, you feel the greatness around him.” 

MIKAL BRIDGES: “I think Jamal was the biggest one. Just how he carries himself and how he motivates me to keep going every day. Seeing what he does in his 19th year. Always on time, being early to things. It just shows to me, there’s no reason for me to be late to anything.”

JOSH JACKSON: “It’s been amazing. I’ve been a fan of Jamal for a really, really, really long time. I used to think about it all year like ‘I’m really on a team with Jamal Crawford. That’s crazy.’ I think I learned a lot from him just by watching him. The way he carries himself, he’s the ultimate pro. You don’t play this long in this league if you don’t take care of your body and you don’t do thing you need to do. He’s literally the answer of everything you need to know about the game.”

TYLER JOHNSON: “A legend. We’ve had so many conversations about how he inspired me to love that bench role. He’s been in the league forever… I’ve watched him growing up. Even when I was in high school I was coming off the bench. It was a role that I appreciated. I tell him he made that role sexy.”

DE’ANTHONY MELTON: “[Jamal’s impact was] huge. Talking through the whole season for me from the time he got here all the way until the end. Just knowledge.”  

KELLY OUBRE JR: “He’s a big staple for me in my life because he’s one of those myths that you always hear about. You don’t really know how they are as people, you just know that they’re really good at what they do. Being able to come around him and feel his energy, he’s one of a kind. His mindset, his mentality about life and the game of basketball is just on a different level. I’ve learned so much from him from day one. He’s embraced me from day one.”

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