Crawford taking point for Wizards

|
Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Guard getting chance to run the offense

After hitting three 3-pointers in a row, Jordan Crawford passed up the chance to make it four.

The last two -- in the fourth quarter against Golden State on Saturday -- came on back-to-back possessions that brought the Wizards within three points with under a minute to play. Had he connected with another one, it would have tied the game. Washington eventually lost 101-97.

"You surprised?" Crawford said when asked afterward why he chose to pass.

Up next
Wizards at Hornets
When » Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Where » New Orleans Arena
TV » CSN

The reporter who posed the question said he thought maybe Crawford would shoot again.

"Then you would've been saying, 'Why'd you shoot it?'?" Crawford responded.

He might not face that line of questioning much longer. With how much the Wizards have struggled to score (29th in the NBA in points per game), they need every basket Crawford (team-high 14.2 ppg) can manufacture.

In the wake of the broken right hand that will keep A.J. Price out for the next four to six weeks and with John Wall still out indefinitely, the third-year guard with the reputation as a no-fear scorer will get the chance to prove he can run the Wizards' offense.

"We're going to give that some time and see," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I've got all the confidence in the world that Shaun [Livingston] and JC can move forward in this and can carry us in the right manner. I do have that confidence. That's why we're not snapping to a quick decision here of bring somebody else in."

The Wizards weren't impressed enough to sign Ben Uzoh or Blake Ahearn following their auditions Sunday. But Crawford has earned the opportunity to play the point with 23 assists in the last four contests. His average of 3.9 per game is second only to that of Price (4.9). On the way to leading the Wizards in scoring and rebounding against the Warriors, Crawford also had a team-high eight assists. It could have been more if not for missed catches by teammates who have seen him make a more concerted effort to give up the ball.

"Simple mistakes are keeping us from winning," Crawford said. "It's not the team that's going, 'It don't matter who is down.' It's always somebody who can step in that position and play for him."

His determination, shielded by a rigorously maintained laid-back attitude off the court, hasn't gone unnoticed.

"It's his mentality," Wizards forward Martell Webster said. "He's resilient. He will not back down from anything. He plays through injury, has heart and now I can really see that flame in him because he really wants to win. If I didn't see it before, I really see it now."

The Wizards also have far bigger concerns to drive their next personnel moves than Crawford's extra shots -- which lately have gone in anyway.

"We're going to try to do what's right, and it doesn't necessarily have to be at that position either, so we're going to look at a lot of different things," Wittman said. "John's bearing doesn't play with that because he's still, John's still weeks from -- he's got to get on the floor and practice. If we were really strapped, we'd bring somebody in. We'll see. We're going to evaluate moving forward here with JC and Shaun."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment