Even at 39, Jamal Crawford is Still Getting Buckets

by Cody Cunningham

Even at 39 years old, Jamal Crawford is continuing to do what he has done for the last 19 seasons: get buckets.

Crawford is just the third player in Suns history to play while 39 or older (Grant Hill, Mark West) and is the third-oldest active player in the NBA (Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki), but the ageless wonder is still making his impact on the court.

Crawford helped lead the Suns to an overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, scoring a season-high 28 points with seven assists. He became the oldest player with 25-plus points and seven assists since Michael Jordan in 2003.

He is also the only player in the league this season with a game of at least 28 points, seven assists and three steals while coming off the bench and is the only player in league history to do so at his age.

But for Crawford, it wasn’t about his personal stats, it was about securing the win in the Suns final home game of the season.

“I just wanted to control the game,” Crawford said. “I wanted to be aggressive. Obviously, we’re missing a lot of people, but make the right play. I don’t care what my stats were. We got the win. That’s all that matter.”

Crawford followed this up with a 27-point and 6-assist performance against the Rockets on Sunday. He became just the third player in NBA history with consecutive games of at 25-plus points in their 19th season or later, joining Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

It is also the first time a Sun has scored at least 25 points off the bench in consecutive games since Leandro Barbosa in 2007 when he won SixthMan on the Year.

Obviously, Crawford knows a thing or two about that award…or three.

The three-time SixthMan of the Year recipient passed Dell Curry this season for the second most points on the NBA’s all-time bench scoring leaderboard. He also passed former Sun Eddie Johnson for the most points in NBA history by a player never selected to be an NBA All-Star.

Being an iso sharpshooter has allowed Crawford to be a perfect candidate in the clutch and even in his 19th season, he has still been stepping up in the final seconds.

Crawford drained a midrange pullup earlier this season against the Milwaukee Bucks in the final second to secure the win the Suns. This was his 10th career game-winner in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, as Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul are the only active players with more.

While his scoring ability has remained consistent throughout his career and into this season, Crawford’s playmaking may have actually improved at 39 years old.

Crawford was brought in to Phoenix to be a leader in the Suns locker room and help the youth of the Suns grow, but he has also helped find them on the court as well. This season he is averaging a career-high 6.9 assists per 36 minutes, surpassing his previous career high established all the way back in 2002-03. The only player to average more assists per 36 in their 19th season or later is John Stockton (10 assists per 36) in his 19th and final season of 2002-03.

Crawford and the Suns will play their final game of the season on Tuesday as the team tips-off against the Mavericks in Dallas. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter