Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford says he returned too soon from injury, plans to sit Monday vs. Suns

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Jamal Crawford missed three straight games for the Clippers due to a calf injury, before trying to give it a go on Saturday against the Hawks.

But Crawford didn’t last long before realizing he wasn’t yet ready to return, and now believes he came back too soon.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who returned Saturday after a three-game absence, said he may have returned too soon and will miss at least Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns as he recovers from a strained left calf.

Crawford played only 10 minutes in the first half of Saturday’s 109-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks but sat on the bench the entire second half as his left calf was heavily taped. He missed both of his shot attempts and finished with three points and one assist.

“I just have to get it stronger because I don’t want the same pain to continue to bother me going into the playoffs,” Crawford said. “I didn’t re-injure it but I could tell it has to be stronger for sure to feel confident pushing off and doing certain things.”

There’s certainly no reason for Crawford to rush back.

The Clippers are playing at a very high level, and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. They’ll want to get everyone healthy for a stretch of games before the postseason begins in order to shore up the rotation and get the team acclimated to playing with certain lineups, but that’s still well over a month away.

L.A. appears to be a more formidable playoff threat than it was a season ago, for a variety of reasons. Crawford’s play has been one of them, so sitting him for as long as it takes seems like the best course of action.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.