Clippers’ Jamal Crawford is comfortable in any role he plays
He’s back on the bench now, back where he has spent most of his 13-year career, back being Clippers super-sub Jamal Crawford.
Crawford had become the starting shooting guard while J.J. Redick recovered from a broken right wrist and torn ligaments on the right side of his wrist.
But with Redick back playing Friday night against the Lakers, Crawford resumed his role as the Clippers’ sixth man.
“For me, I’m a team player,” Crawford said. “I’ve been the sixth man and I’m comfortable in that position. I’ve been a starter, too, so I’m comfortable either way.”
Crawford and the Clippers, who have four days off before they play the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Staples Center, both thrived.
The Clippers went 10-4 in the games Crawford started.
He was averaging 18.5 points per game as a starter.
For the season, Crawford is averaging 16.7 points per game, third best on the team.
Crawford is making 40.4% of his shots, 34.7% of his three-pointers. He’s shooting 81.6% from the free-throw line and averaging 2.8 assists per game, third best on the team.
He’s averaging 30.6 minutes per game, the fourth most on the team.
And with All-Star point guard Chris Paul out with a Grade 3 AC joint separation of his right shoulder, Crawford has played some backup point guard.
“Backup two-guard, backup point guard coming off the bench. That’s fine,” Crawford said. “I’m just a basketball player.”
Matt Barnes had a career year last season and earned a three-year, $10.1-million contract to return to the Clippers.
But injuries have slowed Barnes this season, leaving the small forward frustrated.
After averaging a career-high 10.3 points last season and playing in 80 games, Barnes is averaging 6.5 points and has played in 20 of the Clippers’ 39 games.
“It’s been personally frustrating for me to be hurt the majority of the season, come back in and try to pick up where I left off last season, which is almost impossible,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with my shot, struggling with my defense, struggling all around.”
Barnes injured his right thigh during the summer.
When training camp started in October in San Diego, Barnes reinjured the same thigh, which was diagnosed as a bruise. But it meant he couldn’t start the season with the Clippers.
So Barnes played just eight games after he got healthy, but he was injured again.
He suffered a torn retina in his left eye that required three procedures before he could play again.
Barnes missed 16 games as he let his eye heal.
“I’m kind of lost out there,” he said. “Not for a standpoint where I understand everything, but just lost because I’m not back to doing things I’ve been doing my whole career.
“I had a good talk with [Clippers Coach] Doc [Rivers] and he thought I was pressing, and I would agree. Like I said, I’m trying to be back to what I was doing last year. That’s going to take time.”
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