LOS ANGELES – If it weren’t for a good nap, Jamal Crawford may never have made history Monday night.
Crawford came into the game against the Jazz questionable with a rib injury that had forced him out of the previous game. He left Monday night as a member of the 15,000 career points club.
“We had the game ball and each guy passed it to him,” said head coach Doc Rivers, “because we were trying to symbolize that, ‘That’s how you got them. Somebody had to give you the ball.’ Then, of course every time we passed it to him he held it and shot it, which is good. That’s what you want him to do.”
That is a lot of points, but honestly, like I have told you guys before, it is more about my teammates and coaches than anything – the guys setting picks, the guys that do not get a lot of credit. I truly have the easiest job of putting the ball in the hole.
Crawford said he woke up after a nap and it didn’t feel like he’d be going to the arena to sit down.
“Then actually going through the walkthrough, I was like, OK, I’m going to give it a go.”
Crawford needed 16 points to hit the 15,000-point mark. He finished with 19. Crawford may have a knack from deep, but the 3-point master surpassed 15,000 points on a two-point bucket in the fourth quarter.
Despite it being a tight game against the Jazz, everything stopped for a moment on a timeout break when the crowd was told what occurred and he received a standing ovation.
“That was really cool,” Crawford said. “I don’t know, I guess coming into the NBA, you’re not really thinking like that. You are just trying to establish yourself and stick, honestly. I have seen so many guys come and go, and I didn’t get normal minutes until my third or fourth year in the NBA. At that point, you’re either a bust or you are on your way out. It is kind of the moment of truth. It can go either way.
“It worked out for me, and I think I’ve been really consistent. Since then, I have tried to be the ultimate professional on and off the court.”
Crawford went into the night feeling “about 70 percent,” only expecting to play a few minutes when called upon. He said he saw his teammates playing their fourth game in five nights and thought he’d give what he could. Crawford also thought he wouldn’t end up hurting himself any further by playing through the rib pain.
He ended up logging more than 33 minutes of playing time in the win, and his 19 points trailed only Blake Griffin’s 31.
Griffin said some guys may say the record doesn’t mean much or they weren’t paying attention when he won it, but he wasn’t one of them. He said it’s a pleasure to play with Crawford and to watch him play and see how much the game of basketball means to him.
“I mean, he never stops watching or thinking or playing basketball, and for him to accomplish something like that, it was awesome,” Griffin said. “That’s a pretty cool thing. I know us in the locker room were proud to be a part of it and were all happy for it.”
While his teammates were happy for Crawford breaking the 15,000-point mark, Crawford might have been happier for what his teammates did to help get him there.
“It’s a pretty good number,” Crawford said. “That is a lot of points, but honestly, like I have told you guys before, it is more about my teammates and coaches than anything – the guys setting picks, the guys that do not get a lot of credit. I truly have the easiest job of putting the ball in the hole.”