Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford tells Eurobasket he wasn't surprised Flip Saunders was fired, expects his team to make the playoffs, is certain Kobe Bryant's the best player in the world, and talks about his older brother Joe's, career in Israel.
After a strong finish last year, the Washington Wizards sophomore guard Jordan Crawford, wasn't aware that playing in the NBA from the get-go, gets somewhat tiring. 'In terms of playing, this season has been a lot different,' Crawford exclusively told Eurobasket, enjoying his day off from the office.
'Around this time last year I wasn't playing at all. I only played 26 games when I really was a factor, so this season feels like it's been going on for a long time and we've only played less than a third of the games.' Crawford said.
Crawford also revealed he wasn't completely surprised when General Manager Ernie Grunfeld relieved Flip Saunders from his coaching position, 'It was kind of expected with the way things were going. You just got to deal with the situation and that's what we're doing right now.' When referring to the Wizards' future, Crawford didn't hesitate, setting high standers for him and his teammates. 'If everyone believes it's possible, we definitely have a chance to make the playoffs. The East isn't that strong, and as a team we're getting much closer and playing better.'
Surprisingly, while most basketball players look to mimic Michael Jordan, Crawford's older brother and childhood idol Joe, is undergoing his own hardwood battles in the Israeli league, 6,000 miles away.
After playing college hoops alongside Rajon Rondo, then excelling in the D-League, Joe was tabbed by the New York Knicks; however, with Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, Nate Robinson and young draftee Toney Douglas on the roster, Crawford's aim was simply to prove he belonged. 'It's hard getting a real playing opportunity in the NBA,' said Washington's Crawford, explaining why his brother didn't get a fair chance in the league. 'Sometimes, like in Joe's situation, you're in a tough position and you just never get your chance.' Crawford continued, 'The NBA isn't really about how good you are. It's about opportunities, luck and basically if someone gives you a chance to play. There's some politics to it, but it all comes down to being in the right place at the right time.'
Meanwhile, in Israel, after losing Dwayne Mitchell (last season's MVP) to Ashkelon, Maccabi Rishon explored the free agent market earlier this summer inquest of a talent that will lead the organization to back-to-back domestic league final four appearances, and become the face of its new era.
Jordan's older brother Joe, a 25-year-old Wildcat alumnus appears to have developed into that person.
Nearly 5-monts after landing in Israel, Crawford's ranked fourth in league in scoring, averaging just below 20 points per game, earning this week's Israeli League Player of the Week honors after dropping 29 points on 3-6 shooting from deep, in addition to drawing 8 fouls from the league's second best defensive team, BC Habikaa. Rishon, currently standing fourth in the Israeli association, has already qualified for the State-Cup Final Four in February.
During the recent NBA lockout, Crawford (Jordan) was intrigued by the possibility of joining his older brother in Israel, 'I already began receiving offers to go abroad but I wanted to go to Israel to be with Joe, see the sites and experience the culture.' Yet, it was Joe who told his brother to stay home, develop his game and keep the no-days-off mindset that led him to last season's success. Behind closed doors, Crawford still 'plans to make a trip out there around May with my parents.'
Regarding the differences and similarities in each others' games the NBAer said, 'We kind of play a similar game but then again we do things differently. We're comparable in the way we get to the hole but Joe's stronger then I am. He also shoots better than I do now. I'm more of a crafty player and try to wiggle my way through people.'
Back to the U.S. - Crawford shed some light on his 'better then Michael Jordan' comment, 'What's the point of playing basketball for your career if you dont want to be better then who they call the greatest. Every time you're in a barber shop or anywhere people talk basketball, their talking about the greatest players. If you don't want to be mentioned in that conversation then you're doing it for nothing.'
When asked about the ongoing 'who's a better player, Kobe Bryant or Lebron James' debate, Crawford said, 'Kobe of course. From the players that don't play at all to the stars, everybody in the NBA is good. Everyone can compete with one another having a better night any time out, it just come downs to if you can do it every single night, and that's the difference between them.
Barnes' late basket, steal put Mavs past Clippers, 97-95 - 3 hours ago
follow us on
Harrison Barnes (6'8''-F-92, college: N.Carolina) thrived in a new position on Thursday night, and so did the Mavericks. Barnes made the go-ahead basket, then stole the ball from Blake Griffin(6'10''-F-89, college: Oklahoma) with 3.9 seconds left as Dallas beat the Los Angeles Clippers 97-95. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle started a big lineup, with Barnes moving from power forward to small forward. ''I have a little bit more energy from not banging with as many bigs,'' Barnes said. Barnes... [read more]
Harrison Barnes (6'8''-F-92, college: N.Carolina) thrived in a new position on Thursday night, and so did the Mavericks. Barnes made the go-ahead basket, then stole the ball from Blake Griffin (6'10''-F-89, college: Oklahoma) with 3.9 seconds left as Dallas beat the Los Angeles Clippers 97-95. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle started a big lineup, with Barnes moving from power forward to small forward. ''I have a little bit more energy from not banging with as many bigs,'' Barnes said. Barnes made a 14-foot jumper with 1:06 remaining for the game's 11th lead change, making it 96-95. After he stripped Griffin, Wesley Matthews made a free throw with 0.9 seconds to play before J.J. Redick (6'4''-G-84, college: Duke) missed a 3-point attempt that would have won it at the buzzer. His shot bounced off the far side of the rim. ''We had a great shot on the last play,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''That was great execution, and it was a 3, would have been a game-winner. Make, miss, we will live with that.'' Griffin scored 21 points, including nine in a row in the fourth quarter, but he missed his last three shots and turned the ball over four times in the game. ''I got to take care of the ball on the last play of the game,'' Griffin said, ''if you trust me with the last play of the game.'' Dallas expected Griffin to have the ball. ''I have to give credit to our coaching staff,'' Barnes said. ''They scouted that play well before the game. We knew it was coming to Blake. I just tried to play good defense, and I was in the right spot and the right time.'' The Clippers had their three-game winning streak snapped. Dallas, battling from behind for a playoff berth, had lost four of six. ''I don't care about the race,'' Rivers said. ''I care about how we play.'' Seth Curry (6'1''-PG-90, college: Duke) led Dallas with 23 points. Barnes finished with 21 and Dirk Nowitzki had 14. The new lineup had Nerlens Noel (6'11''-F-94, college: Kentucky, agency: Pro Partner Sports Management) starting at center and point guard Yogi Ferrell on the bench. Curry started at point guard and had four assists. ''We're going to give this a look,'' Carlisle said. ''It may be the rest of the year, it may not.'' Noel finished with 12 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals, including one in the final minute. DeAndre Jordan (6'11''-C-88, college: Texas A&M) had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul (6'0''-PG-85, college: Wake Forest) scored 15 points and Austin Rivers had 13. The Mavericks led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter. But after trailing 44-32, Los Angeles finished the first half on a 22-4 run for a 54-48 halftime lead. Paul had 13 points in the first half, and Jordan already had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Nowitzki and Curry each had 10 points for the Mavericks. Dallas started the third quarter with a 13-2 run to regain the lead at 61-56. The Mavericks took a 79-77 lead into the fourth quarter. Courtesy of: cbssports.com
Spurs drop Grizzlies in potential playoff preview - 3 hours ago
follow us on
The Memphis Grizzlies got into the Spurs defensively, pushing San Antonio around and making every possession a fierce fight. The Spurs enjoyed it, especially their defensive-minded coach. LaMarcus Aldridge (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Texas) scored 23 points, Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) added 19 and San Antonio beat Memphis 97-90 on Thursday night in a possible first-round playoff preview. "It's good for the team and myself that we're seeing this early instead of being... [read more]
The Memphis Grizzlies got into the Spurs defensively, pushing San Antonio around and making every possession a fierce fight. The Spurs enjoyed it, especially their defensive-minded coach. LaMarcus Aldridge (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Texas) scored 23 points, Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) added 19 and San Antonio beat Memphis 97-90 on Thursday night in a possible first-round playoff preview. "It's good for the team and myself that we're seeing this early instead of being hit in the playoffs," Leonard said. San Antonio opened a four-game homestand by moving two games behind idle Golden State for the league's best record. The Spurs (55-16) close the homestand against the Warriors (57-14) next Wednesday. Memphis (40-32) is seventh in the Western Conference, which would result in a first-round matchup with San Antonio if the standings remain. "I thought both teams played good defense," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "As usual, making some shots down the stretch matters, but overall I thought we moved the ball pretty well and we didn't turn it over too much. We played a pretty good game." Mike Conley had 22 points and six assists for Memphis, which fell 1 games behind Oklahoma City for sixth place. Marc Gasol (7'1''-C-85), who had 13 points, was the only other Grizzlies player in double figures. San Antonio lost the first two meetings, both in Memphis, by a combined 23 points. "They were more clear on their plan defensively," said Marc Gasol, who outscored his brother, Pau, by four points. "They did a good job. We didn't really run. They moved the ball, they made a lot of shots." Aldridge reached 15,000 career points with his final basket, a 13-foot jumper that gave San Antonio a 90-81 lead with 2:10 remaining. The 11-year veteran is averaging 21.4 points in five games since returning from a two-game absence after being diagnosed with a minor heart arrhythmia. "I don't know, I'm just trying to play basketball, really," Aldridge said. "Trying to be more dominant out there. I'm just trying to take my shots and play in the flow. I'm not being as passive as I was earlier in the year. It's working out for me." Leonard finished 7-for-15 from the field while battling the aggressive hands-on defense of Tony Allen (6'4''-G-82, college: Oklahoma St.) and James Ennis (6'7''-F/G-90, college: Long Beach St.) III. Leonard responded with his own defense to preserve the win. The 6-foot-7 forward sprinted in front of Allen to tip away a pass and leapt out of bounds to save the ball to Aldridge. The play led to a three-point play by Patty Mills after he was fouled on a 3-on-1 layup for an 88-80 lead with four minutes remaining. Mills was 3-for-6 on 3s, finishing with 15 points. "Our effort was fantastic," Memphis coach David Fizdale said. "We really competed defensively. It was stretches there where we had our mental lapses, but that's the Spurs." Courtesy of: usatoday.com
DeRozan gets 40, Raptors rally again to beat Heat 101-84 - 3 hours ago
follow us on
Down by 15 early, the Toronto Raptors had no reason to panic. Trouble brings out their best. DeMar DeRozan (6'7''-F/G-89, college: USC) scored 40 points - doing that back-to-back for the first time in his career - and the Raptors clamped down defensively in the final three quarters to beat the Miami Heat 101-84 on Thursday night. Toronto has now won 19 games this season after trailing by at least 10 points, more than any team in the NBA. "It talks about toughness, heart," Raptors coach Dw... [read more]
Down by 15 early, the Toronto Raptors had no reason to panic. Trouble brings out their best. DeMar DeRozan (6'7''-F/G-89, college: USC) scored 40 points - doing that back-to-back for the first time in his career - and the Raptors clamped down defensively in the final three quarters to beat the Miami Heat 101-84 on Thursday night. Toronto has now won 19 games this season after trailing by at least 10 points, more than any team in the NBA. "It talks about toughness, heart," Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said. "Our give-a-crap level is pretty high, and it's one of those things where when you count us out, we find a way. My thing is just find five men who are going to play hard." Playing with 13 stitches in his right hand and some padding and bandages to protect the injury, Hassan Whiteside (7'0''-C-89, college: Marshall) had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Miami. Whiteside seemed a bit limited - his first two shots were rather gentle dunks, not his usual make-the-backboard-shake variety. His injury situation even got worse: Whiteside sprained his left ankle late in the game. "Very inspiring, just to see him out there battling," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Even with one good hand at the start and one good ankle at the finish, Whiteside was one of Miami's lone offensive bright spots. Rodney McGruder (6'4''-G-91, college: Kansas St.) and Goran Dragic (6'3''-PG-86) each scored 13 for Miami, which shot 39 percent and tied its second-lowest scoring total of the season. "No one's going to feel sorry for me," said Whiteside, who had a bag over his cut hand, two icepacks on his knees and a wrap on his newly injured ankle as he sat at his locker postgame. DeRozan needed 38 shots to score 42 points against Chicago on Tuesday. He was much more effective in this one, shooting 14 for 25 from the field and 12 for 13 from the line. "I was just trying to be aggressive and try to pick it up on the defensive end as well, not just trying to go up there scoring," DeRozan said. "We slowly started getting into it and started playing like we wanted to play." Neither team moved in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Toronto (43-29) remained in the No. 4 spot, pulling within a half-game of No. 3 Washington. Miami (35-37) stayed No. 8, now just a game ahead of No. 9 Chicago and No. 10 Detroit. Courtesy of: abcnews.com
Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.