CHICAGO (AP) — A rhythm shooter on a team out of sync, Jamal Crawford and the Los Angeles Clippers broke out on Saturday night.
The veteran reserve came alive late, scoring 25 points to carry the visiting Clippers to a 101-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
“We definitely needed a win,” Crawford said after his 10-of-17 shooting performance. “Everything is better. The food tastes better, the flight will be better, you know, but it’s a total team effort.”
Chris Paul added 17 points and Blake Griffin had 16 for Los Angeles, which lost in Milwaukee on Friday and had fallen to the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.
Crawford, a former Bulls guard who won his third Sixth Man of the Year award last season, scored 10 points during a 14-7 spurt in the fourth quarter as the Clippers won for just the second time in six games.
“He went 1-on-1 and you can’t do nothing when he is going like that,” said Chicago’s Dwyane Wade, who scored 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. “When they have guys making shots like that, we are taking the ball out of the basket. Our offensive rhythm is not the same as it was in the first half when we were able to get stops and go the other way.”
Jimmy Butler scored 16 points for the Bulls, who had won five of their last six games, including wins against Cleveland and Golden State.
Chicago led by 10 points five times in the second quarter, but the Clippers took control late in the third. Crawford’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer closed an 18-5 Los Angeles run at the end of the period to go up 82-73.
Los Angeles then extended its lead to 96-80 midway through the fourth.
Crawford, who averages 15.3 points per game in his career and will turn 37 in two weeks, was in single digits in five of his previous six games.
“He’s going to always break out,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I always tell him to give yourself a shooter’s chance. If you don’t shoot it, you have no chance of breaking out of it.”