The Clippers' Crawford Problem
Is the Sixth Man of the Year killing Los Angeles' postseason?
It was a scene that got lost in the madness that was the Clippers-Thunder Game 5 finish.
With 30 seconds left in the game, the Los Angeles Clippers were up four and needed a bucket to seal the win, and Jamal Crawford waved off Chris Paul. The Clippers' starting point guard had walked out to the half-court line where Crawford stood and signaled his hunger for the ball by holding up his hands toward the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. But Crawford motioned for him to be a decoy in the left corner. Paul obliged.
Crawford milked the clock and had a mismatch on slow-footed Kendrick Perkins. As the shot clock trickled down to 5 seconds, Crawford easily blew past Perkins off the dribble, blitzed into the paint for a clear shot at the rim and pulled up short for a finger-roll layup. No good. The Thunder ignited a fast break off the miss and Kevin Durant quickly made a bucket on the other end to cut the lead to two as Crawford watched from afar.
This is the Crawford experience. The veteran has an uncanny ability to hit tough shots but miss the easy ones. He's the guy who will fix your car in a pinch and then lose your keys.
Down 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinals and facing elimination, the Clippers need more, and that means less of Crawford. Usage rate is a statistic that measures the percentage of a team's possessions a player uses while on the floor (via field goal attempts, free throw attempts and turnovers). Basically, it quantifies how often a player tries to score. Take a guess who leads the Clippers this postseason in usage rate. Paul? Blake Griffin? Guess again.
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