In the Celtics’ 111-105 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday, Jordan Crawford dropped in 24 points and dished 8 assists. Given his impressive stat line, it would be hard to pin the loss solely on Steez, so I won’t go that far. I will say, however, that Crawford’s unwillingness to pass down the stretch of that game (and every other close game the Celtics have played in this year) did absolutely nothing to inspire the play of his teammates.
In the first half of that game on Wednesday, we saw the good Jordan Crawford. The Jordan Crawford that led this team to a surprising 12-14 start at the beginning of the year. In fact, his 14 points were probably the main reason that Boston was even in the game.
In the second half, we saw the bad Jordan Crawford. The Jordan Crawford that believes it is his duty to put the ball in the basket on every possession. When the Celtics played the Pelicans last week, one of the New Orleans broadcasters spoke to Crawford before the game. They asked him whether he preferred playing point guard or shooting guard. Crawford responded by saying that he likes playing point guard because it’s easier for him to find HIS shot. That right there is not the attitude that you want from your point guard. Starting point guards in the NBA should always be thinking pass first. Of course, this will all change once Rondo returns and Steez heads back to the bench.
Anyway, back to the second half against the Clippers. Every time Jordan made a couple of shots, he felt as though it was time for him to completely take over the game. Now don’t get me wrong, the Celtics need someone like Crawford who actually has the balls to take shots in big situations. With that being said, sometimes it almost seems as though Steez is more interested in creating a personal highlight film than he is in getting his teammates involved. Although he has racked up a number of assists this year, when it’s a close game in the fourth quarter his eyes are locked on the basket, and that has never been more evident than it was on Wednesday night. At one point, I noticed Crawford bring the ball up the court, drive to the basket with no regard for his teammates who just stood there and watched, and draw a foul. Normally when a player draws a foul late in the fourth quarter of a close game, you’ll see his teammates rush over to pat him on the back or give him a high five. Not this time. Instead, Jordan’s teammates lifelessly sauntered to their respective positions and lined up for the free-throws. It was almost as if they all knew that the fate of their team now rested on the shoulders of Crawford and they would most likely not get a chance to touch the ball for the rest of the game. Like it’s great that you got to the line Jordan, but maybe if you tried to work the ball around we could have ended up with an open three or a layup. Just as I made this observation, I noticed that Bill Simmons took to twitter to point out the exact same thing. Simmons said “When Jordan Crawford goes full ballhog, you can actually see the life oozing out of every other Celtics teammate on the floor.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a big Crawford fan this year and our record would surely be worse if it weren’t for him. He just needs to be a little more disciplined and trust his teammates when the game is on the line. Although Steez might think he’s the C’s best option offensively, I can assure you that there are other players who are fully capable of putting the ball in the basket.