“It’s everybody honestly,” he said. “I’ve got the easy job just scoring, but Grant, Blake, all those guys put me in a position to score … I just have to make the shots, they’re doing all the hard work.” Jamal Crawford.
And me, oh MY, did Crawford make those shots. Lots and lots of them. 30 points worth on 11-20 shooting, 5-7 from 3-point range, to be exact, including a stretch of 12 straight in the 4th quarter to extend the Clippers lead to 21 points and put the game against the high-flying Houston Rockets in the bank.
Oh, and Chris Paul didn’t play. You read that right, Chris Paul was in a suit on the bench watching as his team put a second straight road win in the schedule, both against Western Conference playoff contenders. In doing so, the Clippers notched their 30th victory of the season and remained a half game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the NBA’s best overall record.
Eric Bledsoe, subbing for Paul, again showed why he’ll be a starter someday, efficiently running the Clippers offense, tallying 19 points, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 7 rebounds. That last stat is ridiculous, incidentally; Bledsoe is barely 6 feet tall. As a fan, it’s bittersweet to watch B-Bled blossom; I’ve mentioned before and am convinced he’s probably going to be worked into a trade next season. Without a doubt, with a team this cohesive and close, they’ll sacrifice the obvious benefits of holding him to the end in favor of a win-win deal in which all parties are satisfied.
Matt Barnes should be given a raise. No, really, with another 19 points and shutdown defense on James Harden in the 2nd half, it’s time to do the right thing and throw some extra cash this man’s way. Barnes simply works too hard to be the lowest paid player on the roster.
The Clippers are deep. How deep? Grant Hill comes off the bench to take a key charge, hit a basket over Jeremy Lin, and run point from the forward position? Both Hall of Fame point guards sit and the Clippers still blow out two playoff opponents on the road? Blake Griffin sitting the 4th quarter in both contests? Caron Butler has an off night and Willie Green scores 15 and dunks it on a fast break? Lamar Odom with 11 rebounds and two full court outlet passes for easy buckets? DeAndre Jordan swatting away shots and slamming home athletic dunks? Lob Deep never sounded so appropriate.
So off the Clippers go to Minnesota, to face the Timberwolves in another “trap game” scenario. With this team, however, the trap is taking them too lightly.