Clippers guard Jamal Crawford has averaged more points and assists per game this season as a starter than coming off the bench.
So given a choice, he’d rather be a starter, right?
Crawford said Monday at his team’s shoot-around that he preferred coming off the bench, which he had done in 39 of the 62 games he had played going into the Clippers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center.
“Come off the bench, for sure,” Crawford said. “I think having J.J. [Redick] out there, it gives the first unit a good rhythm. When he’s out there, he’s one of the top guys. Blake [Griffin] and C.P. [Chris Paul] tend to start off kind of slow and J.J.’s going, he’s running, he gets eight points in the first quarter and it sets a tone for us when we come in.”
Crawford does like to finish games, though, which has worked out well for the Clippers. He entered Monday averaging 6.7 points per game in the fourth quarter, trailing only Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (7.6) and Houston’s James Harden (6.9).
“I think I was up there in the fourth quarter [for scoring],” Crawford said, “so it’s a nice balance with me coming off the bench.”
The Clippers have been without Redick since early February because of a bulging disc in his back, prompting the team to use Crawford, Darren Collison or Willie Green as a replacement in the starting lineup. Crawford moved back to the bench Saturday in only his second game since being sidelined since late February because of a strained left calf.
Crawford is averaging 20.6 points and 3.3 assists while shooting 40.2% as a starter versus averages of 17.2 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 43.3% as a reserve.
Among the leading candidates to win NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, Crawford has scored 30 or more points in a game this season twice as a starter and twice as a reserve. He said shuttling back and forth between roles hasn’t been difficult.
“Having the teammates and coaching staff that I have around me, they make it easy,” Crawford said. “They don’t ask me to change too much, always be aggressive even if I’m playing the point, take the score if it’s there and set people up if it’s not.”
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