Mack to start, Crawford coming off bench because of 'rules violation'

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Sports,Pick and Roll,Craig Stouffer

It’s one thing that Shelvin Mack will make his first career regular-season NBA start for the Wizards in his first game back after returning to the team from the D-League.

It’s another that he’ll replace Jordan Crawford, who will come off the bench for the first time in nine games due to a team rules violation.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman revealed both moves in the same sentence as his team gets ready to return to action following a couple days off for Christmas. It’s not exactly good timing for a team whose performance in the last two games was called “embarrassing” by Nene, who also dished to NBA.com.

“We’ve got to keep plugging and work to build ourselves a momentum,” Wittman said after practice on Christmas Day. “What is that? Obviously, it’s winning some games, but how many, where we’re at, how many in a row, let’s just get some momentum going and see where it can take us, see where it takes you and see what you can build on from that. There’s no magic number or goal. It’s to fight ourselves out of this hole, and how far can we fight ourselves up and out of it. Are we going to continue to fight and stay together and be in this thing together? It’s the only way you can do it. If we’re not, then it’s going to be a lot of the same.”

Crawford (15.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.1 rpg) has started 12 of 25 games this season, including the last eight in a row. His preferred role on a better team would probably be as a sixth man anyway. But the Wizards aren’t a better team.

“We talked about [Crawford off the bench] from training camp,” Wittman said. “I do think that’s a strong point of his because of his aggressive nature, and in the real scheme of things, that’s how you’d like to use him. But we’ve got a lot injuries, and we’ve had to use him in a lot of different ways. Obviously, we still have guys out, and we’ll still continue to look at different ways.”

At the other end of the court, meanwhile, Shaun Livingston will take a spot wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, having been claimed off waivers. Apparently, he flew to California and back since being released late Saturday night. He’s not likely to play.

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner