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Jamal Crawford provides a little magic to lift Clippers past Bulls

Jamal Crawford provides a little magic to lift Clippers past Bulls
Clippers guard Chris Paul tries to steal the ball from Bulls forward Jimmy Butler during the first half. (Tannen Maury / EPA)

Jamal Crawford was back dancing with the basketball Saturday night, his movements in sync with those of all the other Clippers who required some uplift.

The Clippers were in desperate need of someone to provide all the right moves, to inspire them, and that's what Crawford did during their 101-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

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Crawford had a game-high 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting, two for five on three-point attempts.

His 10 points in the third quarter got the Clippers going. They included a three-pointer, just before the quarter ended, that gave the Clippers a nine-point lead.

"I'm a big rhythm guy," Crawford said. "So for me, you can always tell when I'm in rhythm by the way I'm handling the ball. So for me, even if I'm not doing anything or just moving around with the ball in my hands, I get kind of in the game. Then your natural instincts and everything just takes over. You stop thinking. You just hoop."

The Clippers had lost four of their previous five games before the win over the Bulls.

But Crawford had 12 more points in the fourth quarter to make sure the Clippers won.

"When he gets going, there's nobody like him, off the bench, scoring-wise," Blake Griffin said. "So him doing what he does best is great for our team."

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had told his players to own their issues and said that winning was the only cure.

"We needed a win," Rivers said. "My pregame speech was, 'Find a way to win.' That was it. So that's good."

Said Crawford: "We knew it. We knew it. But Doc does a great job. He knows the pulse of this team. He knows what to say, when to say it, how to get his message across. We all believe in what's going on and we believe in the big picture here."

Crawford was also good on defense, picking up two steals in the third quarter when the Clippers made some separation.

"Whenever I'm active on defense, I think that helps me kind of get going on offense," Crawford said. "It gets me in the game, so to speak."

Crawford was with his crew of reserves — Austin Rivers, Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton and Wesley Johnson — that built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Speights became a defensive stopper for the Clippers, taking a charge in the fourth quarter. He then drove by his man for a dunk, making his teammates leap off the bench again and cheer the backup center.

When Crawford made a 21-foot jumper for a 14-point lead late in the fourth, the Clippers were secure.

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"My teammates, they always harp on me being more aggressive," Crawford said. "And Doc, obviously, they always want me to continue to be aggressive, be that weapon, be that threat. I just felt good all day. I've been feeling good.

"But we're just trying to figure it out, trying to reset our second unit a little bit. Now that we got everybody healthy, I'm trying to pick my spots a little bit more."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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