Despite the amount of adversity the Los Angeles Clippers have faced this season, including missing star forward Blake Griffin for a majority of the season, 16-year veteran guard Jamal Crawford believes his team still is in good position to win home court in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. He joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and explained why.
“I think we showed a lot of character and resolve. Obviously, you can’t predict things, injuries and things of that nature or the future with the team with the season progresses. You just pick up the pieces and go from there. We handled adversity well, as far as injuries and guys being tired and knick-knacks, and trades and everything. That comes with the season and here we are with twenty-some games left we are in a good position, and once we get Blake, the offense just came back I think we can really take off.”
Crawford also took time to talk about the retirement of in-town Lakers’ superstar, Kobe Bryant, a player he compares to arguably the NBA’s greatest player of all time.
“Honestly, [Kobe’s last game] will be a surreal moment. I haven’t checked our schedule to see if we are in town yet, but if we are, I’d like to go to the game just to be there and witness that,” Crawford said. “Kobe’s been the best player of my generation I’ve played against, I’ve always said. I think I was one of the first to say he’s this generation’s Michael Jordan.”
Crawford clarified, “You know when I say that I’m not saying he’s Michael Jordan but I think he’s the closet thing we will see to him, when it comes with scoring ability mentality how drive he was the championships the ilk, the mental toughness and everything about him, I love him, and I have so much respect for him.”
His love for Kobe isn’t anything new, though.
“I was in the league when he was first winning championships, and was just a young kid. I actually sent him a picture where I had on his shoe when I won the state championship in high school, so that was pretty cool. He got a kick out of that.”
Crawford credits Kobe’s skills and abilities to how well he’s mastered his footwork.
“It’s the best. It’s impeccable actually. The stuff he can do, like you see myself and guys like Steph and Kyrie and Chris Paul, obviously we break people down more off the dribble. He does it with his feet, with his back to the basket and that’s unusual for a guard,” Crawford said. “That’s almost like how Hakeem did it, but he’s doing it for a guard. Michael Jordan started doing it late in his career, but Kobe’s footwork is impeccable, and I think that’s something to be acknowledged. It’s rare. I’m not sure we will see another guard like that.”
The Clippers last squared off with the Golden State Warriors on February 20th, resulting in a narrow 115-112 loss for Los Angeles. It was the third of four meetings between the two teams this season, meaning it was the third time Crawford squared off against reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, another player he has the utmost respect for.
“[Steph Curry’s] as free as I’ve ever seen anybody on a basketball court,” Crawford said about Curry, referencing the fact that he always has a green light to shoot the ball.
Crawford talked about how Curry’s game can really get in the minds of opposing players.
“I think it breaks them mentally a little bit. Think about it, this is a guy that’s not dunking every play or wooing people with his athleticism. It’s literally shooting and skills, skill work, and drill work,” Crawford said. “And I think that’s inspiring for the next generation as well. As far as, you get in the gym and work on your game, work on your ball handling, and work on your shooting, you can have a great career, and he’s a model of that.”
This post brought to you by Jim Rome.