On Saturday, Jamal Crawford and his Clippers traveled North to face the Blazers at Portland’s Rose Garden, the arena in which he played his home games last season. In those home games, he scored just 13.5 points per game on 40.5% from the floor and 30.9% from three. As the numbers indicate, Crawford’s stint with the Blazers was a yearlong struggle. He was bad, the team was bad, and mutual interest waned, resulting in his joining of the Clippers last summer. Now, Crawford is enjoying what most would consider the finest season of his career. Even his initial return to his least favorite building, the Rose Garden, went swimmingly — he dropped 25 off the bench in a 13-point Clipper victory.
It can’t all be peaches and cream, however. Having temporarily lost Chris Paul to a bruised kneecap, the Clippers stumbled into their first of two back-to-back matchups with the Blazers riding a three-game losing streak. Approximately 47 minutes and 37 seconds later, they were on the brink of yet another defeat. Down one and with no CP3 to work his magic, Crawford, the former Blazer, took it upon himself to attempt what would be the game’s deciding shot. Presumably, it was a shot he wanted nothing more than to take (and obviously make) — the sort of special moment that a fiery competitor subsists on.
To make a long story short, the Clippers lost their fourth in a row. Crawford missed a driving layup, forced a jump ball, won the jump ball, and missed a pull-up jumper at the buzzer. Both attempts were quality looks, especially considering the situation. But they, like so many of Crawford’s shots at the very same rim, refused to drop.
Surely this was not the ending that Jamal had in mind. Considering his history of making game-winning shots, there was little doubt in my mind that he would deliver. After all, he’d been having a good game. Prior to the layup attempt, Crawford had gone 6-13 from the floor for 19 points. He’d also pulled off his latest feat of ball-handling wizardry at the expense of Wesley Matthews.
Jamal Crawford, serving brothers quicker than fast food since before that line was rapped. Funny, the only thing quicker than Crawford’s move was Wes Matthews — to complain to the official. That’s how you know he was embarrassed as hell.