Tag: Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford hopeful he can return for the Clippers this season

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A few days ago, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told reporters there was a chance Jamal Crawford’s bruised right calf was bad enough that it would keep him out for the rest of the season. But on Thursday, Crawford seemed much more optimistic that he’ll be back before the start of the playoffs.

From the Los Angeles Times‘ Ben Bolch:

“It’s just a slow process because this is a sensitive area,” said Crawford, who has had his calf drained to promote healing. “This is probably the weirdest [injury] because you just don’t see it happen in basketball.”

Crawford, 35, is familiar with the downside to returning from an injury prematurely. He came back in late March of last season after missing eight of the nine previous games because of a strained left calf. After playing in five games, he had to sit out the next five when the calf became aggravated.

Asked if he was concerned his current injury might end his season, Crawford said, “No, I’m not worried. I believe I’ll be fine.”

A Crawford return would certainly be welcome for the Clippers. He’s their main weapon off the bench, a second unit that otherwise has relied on scoring from the likes of Nate Robinson and Hedo Turkoglu. It’s hard to see them going far in the playoffs without the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.

Doc Rivers: ‘There’s a chance’ Jamal Crawford may not return for Clippers this season

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers

Jamal Crawford is the Clippers’ third leading scorer behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, despite being sixth on the team in minutes per game because he’s come off the bench in 56 of his 60 appearances.

Crawford is a huge part of what L.A. does, because he’s the only thing resembling a legitimate scoring option outside of the team’s starting five.

But according to Doc Rivers, the Clippers may be facing the very real prospect of heading to the postseason without him.

From Robert Morales of DailyBreeze.com:

“Well, I’m concerned,” he said. “I mean, make no mistake about that. I mean, I was pretty confident that Blake (Griffin) would be back at some point, so I didn’t have concern on that. But I do have concern with Jamal; I’ll say that.”

Rivers was then asked the million-dollar question: Is it possible Crawford may not return at all this season?

“There’s a chance,” said Rivers, whose team today at 12:30 p.m. plays host to the New Orleans Pelicans. “You know, I don’t know right now because he’s improved, but not enough, I can tell you that. He’s nowhere near, in my opinion, playing. So we just have to hope he gets better.”

If the worst-case scenario becomes a reality, it would be a fairly significant blow to the Clippers’ hopes of doing any damage once the playoffs begin.

L.A. is riding a three-game winning streak, but is just 5-4 overall in the games that Crawford is missed. The remaining reserves are incapable of doing much at all, which is forcing the starters to play heavy minutes, even in games that result in blowout victories. The Clippers are having to rely on players like Austin Rivers and Nate Robison in Crawford’s absence, but can only afford to do so for very limited stretches.

Clippers sign Nate Robinson to 10-day contract

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Nate Robinson began the season with the Denver Nuggets, but coming off of an ACL tear a season ago, was putting up career-low scoring and field goal percentage numbers.

Robinson was traded to the Celtics in January, but negotiated a buyout so that he would be free to sign with a contender before the playoffs began.

That day has evidently arrived, at least temporarily.

Matt Barnes may have broken the news, which has since been confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and Sam Amick of USA Today: Robinson will sign a 10-day contract with the Clippers, and is expected to be available for Sunday’s nationally televised contest against the Warriors.

Robinson will be reunited with Doc Rivers, whom he played for as a member of the 2010 Celtics team that lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Glen Davis was a member of that squad, too, and the pair had some effective moments during that series — but that was almost five years ago now, and this move seems more like a desperate one than anything else.

The Clippers have a severe lack of depth on their roster, especially offensively. Once you get past Jamal Crawford, there’s no one who can be counted on to provide scoring as part of the reserve unit on anything resembling a consistent basis.

Robinson should get more than a fair opportunity to show whether or not he can help to change that.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: James Harden, LeBron James want your MVP vote

Cleveland Cavaliers v Houston Rockets

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while remembering the old MTV Rock ’n Jock events

1) LeBron James and James Harden played like MVPs. The Cavaliers and Rockets were in a playoff game — it was intense, it was physical to the point of chippy, and it was a dramatic overtime game. One the Rockets won — they are now 11-4 with Dwight Howard out. But what everyone is going to talk about is the LeBron James and James Harden going back-and-forth. Harden bolstered his MVP candidacy with 33 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Harden got his kicks in. LeBron, who a couple days back went hard at Stephen Curry to make his MVP candidacy, tried to do the same thing with Harden and LeBron finished with 37 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. However, LeBron shot 3-of-11 from the free throw line, which is one big reason Cleveland lost.

2) The JaVale McGee recruiting battle has begun. The Sixers bought out JaVale McGee — at full price — right before the deadline to waive him and allow him to join another team and make their playoff roster. A whole lot of contenders could use him as a reserve big man — he’s an athletic seven footer who can block shots and run the floor. The Mavericks, Clippers, Rockets are among the teams rumored to be interested. The teams can all offer the same minimum contract, so it’s going to be about where McGee wants to play, and who can do the best Matt Foley motivational speaker recruiting job.

3) Brandon Bass had the dunk of the night. Yes, that Brandon Bass. This was a quality throwdown, even if the source was a little surprising. Brandon Bass has a few hops still.

4) Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are carrying the Clippers quite well. Friday night the Clippers beat Memphis. Sunday they handled the Bulls pretty comfortably, 96-86. And both of those games they were without Blake Griffin. Sunday the Clippers pulled away with a 10-2 run midway through the fourth, a quarter when Jamal Crawford dropped 10 of his 16. However, it is the play of Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan that has carried the Clippers without Griffin (and not let them fall down the West standings). CP3 had 28 points and 12 assists, while Jordan pulled down 26 rebounds. There are moments you think this team could put it all together and be scary come the playoffs; they just haven’t sustained it. Yet.

5) It’s an annual tradition: The playoffs are coming, and the Bulls are breaking down. Derrick Rose is out 4-6 weeks after his latest knee surgery. Taj Gibson was out on Sunday against the Clippers due to an ankle issue. Then Jimmy Butler had to leave the game after hyper-extending his elbow, and he did not return. (Butler will have an MRI Monday on his elbow.) This happens every year with the Bulls, and although you can’t throw this one on Tom Thibodeau (he wasn’t grinding Rose into the ground, for example) you wonder if management will after the season anyway because they want to make a change.

Doc Rivers’ buyout market plan falls short, leaving Clippers with short bench

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are a very dangerous team with their top six players — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford — are healthy and some combination of them is on the court. But go much past that and things start to fall apart. The Clippers lack depth.

Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and GM, planned to help remedy that the same way he did last season — on the buyout market. That’s where they picked up Glen Davis and Danny Granger back then. This time around Doc cleared roster space — that was part of what was behind the Austin Rivers’ trade — and was ready to pounce.

But this year Josh Smith chose Houston. Kendrick Perkins — who played for Rivers in Boston — chose Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince and Kevin Garnett were traded and not bought out.

That left the Clippers with nothing. It left Los Angeles flat-footed in a Western Conference where Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Memphis and others made moves to upgrade their rosters. Rivers tried to put a spin on it, speaking to Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“We like our team,” Rivers said Wednesday. “We actually like our basketball team, and if we could add something that can help that, we will. What people don’t understand is chemistry is so freaking important. Unless it’s somebody you think is going to really change your team, this team was a couple bad plays in Game 6 away from the Western Conference finals last year. We lost some guys and added some guys, but we like our team.”

The real problem was that Rivers’ tied his own hands this summer. He wanted Spencer Hawes and gave him the full mid-level exception to land the reserve big man. In doing so he triggered a hard cap on the Clippers of $4 million more than the luxury tax line, and the Clippers have been within a couple million of that all season. Meaning all they could ever do was offer minimum salary contracts to anyone who came available. It also made it hard to make a trade (not that the Clippers had assets people wanted, aside Crawford) because the Clippers couldn’t take on salary.

That said, I agree with Rivers, I like this team. But I don’t love it. And they don’t seem a team likely to come out of the loaded West.

The Clippers, at 37-21, are currently the six seed in the West. They are just 2.5 games out of the three seed, but they are also just four games up on the hard-charging eight seed Thunder.

This Clipper team has not been as good as the one that made the second round last season. That’s mostly because their defense hasn’t been as tight — they are giving up 104.2 points per 100 possessions, which is 2.1 more than last season. If you don’t think that’s much, it’s the difference between seventh best in the NBA last season and 18th this season. That defense has been better the last few games, but they need to sustain that — and do it with Griffin back in the lineup — before I’m a believer.

They’re just going to have to do it in-house, because there is no help coming.