Look, he’s a veteran. He knows the tricks of the trade, the ins and outs, the goings-on. He’s been around the block once or twice, and at almost 30 years old, this isn’t exactly his first rodeo.
Only, this is his first rodeo. Or will be, rather.
After a long career of playing for teams that ranged from completely inept to sub-mediocre, Jamal Crawford, in his tenth NBA season, will finally make it to the playoffs. Think about that. Ten. Years. A player of Crawford’s caliber has toiled away (sometimes due to his own faults) on losing team after losing team, and only now will he get his first taste of post-season glory.
Which is an undeniably good thing. Not only because Atlanta is pleased to have him, but because you and I should be pleased to watch Crawford do his thing under the bright lights. From Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times’ Off the Dribble Blog:
His streak reached 659 games Monday night against the Knicks. It
will come to a finish at the end of this season at 679 games when the
Hawks get ready for the playoffs. They are comfortably in second place
in the Southeast Division and a near lock for home-court advantage in
the first round.
“I always said the thing that bothered me most about it was I
actually hadn’t experienced the big games in front of the crowd like
that,” Crawford said. “I just think on that stage, I’m at my best.”
Now he can finally find out if his assumption is true.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.