Jamal Crawford missed five of his first six shots Saturday, a clear sign the Clippers reserve shooting guard was out of rhythm after sitting out the last five games recovering from a strained left calf.
But Crawford made his next two shots, a clear sign he is confident enough to take shots when the result hangs in the balance, even if he’s still trying to find his way after being out for so long.
“I think in the second half, I got more comfortable,” Crawford said after scoring 10 points on three-for-eight shooting.
With the Clippers holding onto a six-point lead in the fourth, Crawford made back-to-back three-pointers to give his team a 12-point lead.
“Even the earlier shots felt good. They just didn’t go,” Crawford said.
Crawford hadn’t played in a game since March 29, at Houston.
He sat out three games after his injury occurred Feb. 26. Then he played in one, sat out five more, played in five and missed the last five.
With three regular-season games left going into Saturday’s game against Sacramento, Crawford wanted to play.
“I was just overly cautious coming back,” Crawford said. “The last couple of days I was dunking. I haven’t dunked since before I got hurt. So I trust [the calf] a lot more. But it’ll be sore tomorrow.”
Clippers preparing for Golden State
If the playoffs started today, the third-seeded Clippers would play the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Though that could change before the playoffs start next week, the Clippers are preparing as if the Warriors will be their postseason opponent.
The two teams, which have a healthy dislike for each other, finished their regular-season series with a 2-2 split.
“We pretty much, in our opinion, felt like that was who were going to play last week or so,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “But I don’t know how much more you can pay attention to a team than you do anyway. But it is nice. You’re preparing. I’m sure they’ve been preparing for us.”
ETC: Danny Granger missed his seventh consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring, leaving Rivers to say, “I don’t know how he’s progressing.”