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.
Heat edge Spurs in overtime, stay alive in the Finals - Jun 19, 2013
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For three quarters, it was not LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84)' finest night. The Miami Heat superstar entered Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs averaging 31.5 points, 10 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 11 elimination games. But entering the fourth quarter Tuesday night, James had missed nine of 12 shots, and the Heat trailed by 10 points [read more]
For three quarters, it was not LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84)' finest night. The Miami Heat superstar entered Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs averaging 31.5 points, 10 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 11 elimination games. But entering the fourth quarter Tuesday night, James had missed nine of 12 shots, and the Heat trailed by 10 points. With Miami's season on the line and another premature referendum on James' legacy up for discussion, James delivered with 16-fourth quarter points and two in overtime, leading the Heat to a 103-100 victory and forcing one more game. "I had a couple turnovers, couple mistakes," James said afterward. "I can live with those mistakes knowing I gave my all tonight. Live to see another day." James and Ray Allen (6'5''-G-75, college: Connecticut) hit consecutive threes in the final 20.3 seconds of the fourth quarter, tying the score at 95-95 and producing the first overtime game of the series. James' basket with 1:01 left in overtime put Miami ahead 101-100, and Allen made two free throws with 1.9 seconds left, making it 103-101. "Until time runs out we have an opportunity to win this game," Allen said. Chris Bosh (6'11''-F-84, college: Georgia Tech) came out with two outstanding defensive plays, blocking a Tony Parker (6'2''-PG-82) jumper with 32.2 seconds left and Danny Green (6'6''-G/F-87, college: N.Carolina)'s three-point attempt as time expired in overtime. Bring on Game 7 Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC). It is the NBA's first Game 7 in the Finals since 2010 and the sixth Game 7 in the Finals since 1980. "One game, that's it," said Allen, who played in the 2010 Finals' Game 7 with the Boston Celtics. "We gotta go out here and do our best and leave it out on the floor." James finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and kept Miami's hopes alive for a second consecutive NBA championship. It was his 11th playoff triple-double and his fourth Finals triple-double, including his second this series. The pattern of lopsided results continued the past five games have been determined by more than 10 points and the trend of win-loss, win-loss extended. No team has won consecutive games in this series, and the Heat will have to do so in order to win a second championship in a row. History is working for and against both teams. In their previous four championships, the Spurs have never trailed (advantage San Antonio). But no team has won the final two games of a Finals series on the road since the advent of the 2-3-2 Finals format in 1985 (advantage Miami). "You can't win a game with a statistic," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You've got to win it on the court." That's what the Heat did in Game 6, preventing back-to-back losses for the first time since early January. For a long stretch, the Spurs were headed to their five NBA title in 15 seasons. Tim Duncan (6'11''-F/C-76, college: Wake Forest) scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half, and the Spurs led 75-65 at the end of the third quarter. James came to life just in time, leading the Heat on 20-7 in the first six minutes, 32 seconds of the fourth quarter. James scored 11 of those points, and the Heat led 85-82 with 5:28 remaining. But the Spurs, especially Duncan, Parker, Manu Emanuel Ginobili (6'6''-SG-77, agency: Interperformances) and Coach Gregg Popovich, have been in these situations too many times to wilt. San Antonio took a 94-89 lead before Miami's series-saving rally forced overtime. Mario Chalmers (6'1''-PG-86, college: Kansas) had 20 points, and Chalmers, Mike Miller and Shane Battier led the Heat's three-point attack, making 11 of 19. Dwyane Wade added 14 points, and Bosh had 10 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and those two huge blocks. They negated the big game from Duncan, and for the most part kept the other Spurs in check, especially Green. Emanuel Ginobili didn't repeat his outstanding Game 5 performance, and Tony Parker did not have best shooting game. Miami's defense had just enough to stop San Antonio, which shot 58.3% in the first half but finished at 43.5%. Spoelstra did not make another change in the starting lineup, staying with forward Mike Miller in favor of forward Udonis Haslem. "It's more how than who, and that's been our focus yesterday and today," Spoelstra said 90 minutes before tip-off. The Heat again struggled against San Antonio's precision offense. Spoelstra made the bold decision to lock down on Spurs three-point specialist Danny Green. That part of the plan worked. Green, who already set a Finals record for three-pointers made in a series, made one on five tries and scored three points. But that left Duncan with several opportunities. Duncan took advantage of Miami's focus on Green, making his first eight shots of the game, including six in the first quarter. Miami did a better job limiting three-point attempts, but struggled to contain Duncan. He scored 13 consecutive points during a stretch in the second quarter, and the Spurs erased 44-39 deficit with an 11-0 run to finish the half. Both teams were hot early the Spurs started 8-for-11 and the Heat 7-for-11 and both coaches called quick first-quarter timeouts after the other team scored. Neither wanted to let the game get away early. Miami had a habit of falling behind early in this series, but it avoided that pothole in Game 6 with strong offense. Each Heat starter scored in the opening quarter, and James had five points and five assists, accounting for 19 of Miami's 27 first-quarter points. Courtesy of; usatoday.com
Andre Iguodala expected to opt out of Denver Nuggets contract - Jun 18, 2013
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Friday produced a trio of newsy Nuggets nuggets Danilo Gallinari (6'9''-SF-88, agency: Players Group) may return as soon as December from knee surgery, Andre Iguodala (6'6''-SF-84, college: Arizona) will opt out of his contract and become a free agent and Lionel Hollins will interview to be the teams head coach As for Iguodala, it wasnt a shock that he decided to opt out of his contract. Now, its just a question of whether he will re-sign with Denver [read more]
Friday produced a trio of newsy Nuggets nuggets Danilo Gallinari (6'9''-SF-88, agency: Players Group) may return as soon as December from knee surgery, Andre Iguodala (6'6''-SF-84, college: Arizona) will opt out of his contract and become a free agent and Lionel Hollins will interview to be the teams head coach As for Iguodala, it wasnt a shock that he decided to opt out of his contract. Now, its just a question of whether he will re-sign with Denver. The defensive-minded shooting guard would have made close to $16 million this coming season, but instead he chose the free-agent market in July. If anything, its a sign that hes considering other teams, though Denver can offer Iguodala a five-year deal while other teams can offer at most a four-year contract. Nuggets president Josh Kroenke has spoken highly of Iguodala and has said he will make a push to try to bring him back. Courtesy of: insidehoops.com
Spurs are one win away from NBA title - Jun 17, 2013
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San Antonio S. - Miami Heat 114-104
The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from a fifth National Basketball Association title after a 114-104 victory against the defending-champion Miami Heat. Emanuel Ginobili (6'6''-SG-77, agency: Interperformances) made his first start for the Spurs this season and contributed 24 points, 10 assists and a spark for San Antonio's offense last night at the AT&T Center. Danny Green (6'6''-G/F-87, college: N [read more]
San Antonio S. - Miami Heat 114-104 The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from a fifth National Basketball Association title after a 114-104 victory against the defending-champion Miami Heat. Emanuel Ginobili (6'6''-SG-77, agency: Interperformances) made his first start for the Spurs this season and contributed 24 points, 10 assists and a spark for San Antonio's offense last night at the AT&T Center. Danny Green (6'6''-G/F-87, college: N.Carolina) hit six three-pointers to set a NBA Finals record with 25 in the series, Tony Parker (6'2''-PG-82) had 26 points and Tim Duncan (6'11''-F/C-76, college: Wake Forest) added 17 points and 12 rebounds to help the Spurs grab a three-games-to-two lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. The series returns to Miami for Game 6 tomorrow. 'We all knew how important this game was and we needed a win,' Emanuel Ginobili said. 'We couldn't go to Miami needing both games. So a great opportunity now, one win away.' The Heat won Games 2 and 4 after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 in the series and need another victory to force a decisive seventh game on June 20 in Miami. The Heat last lost back-to-back games on Jan. 8 and 10, yet Miami also hasn't won consecutive playoff games since its second-round series against the Chicago Bulls. LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84) and Dwyane Wade (6'4''-G-82, college: Marquette) each scored 25 points last night for the Heat, while Ray Allen had 21 points off the bench. After a 16-point home loss in Game 4, the Spurs jumped out to an early lead and then withstood several runs by the Heat. San Antonio closed the first quarter with a 15-2 scoring run to break open a 17-17 tie and open a 32-19 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Each time Miami rallied, the Spurs answered. When the Heat pulled within 61-60 with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter, the Spurs responded with seven straight points, including a three-pointer by Green, who broke Allen's record of 22 three-pointers in an NBA Finals series. After the Heat again cut the deficit to one point, at 75-74, the Spurs closed the third quarter with a 12-1 run fueled by seven points from Emanuel Ginobili, who became the first player to start in the NBA Finals after not starting a game all season since Marcus Camby for the New York Knicks in 1999. 'We tried to really push the pace,' Emanuel Ginobili said. San Antonio, which made 60 percent of its shots, also scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter and extended its advantage to as many 20 points. 'Once we got it back to one and felt we weathered the storm, we missed a couple shots we're accustomed to making and it snowballed down the hill from there,' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at his post-game news conference. 'We just didn't show the mental resolve we needed to.' The Heat got within 109-100 with 2:01 left before Parker hit a driving layup and Green nailed another three-pointer to finish with 24 points. Since the Spurs won Game 1 of the series 92-88, the past four games have been decided by an average of 20.3 points. San Antonio's last title came after the 2006-07 season, while the Spurs also won championships in 1999, 2003 and 2005. Courtesy of: businessweek.com
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