The Boston Celtics are still fighting in the Eastern Conference for their position in the NBA Playoffs, especially since they still haven’t clinched a berth in the postseason. Riddled with injuries, most notably to Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are fighting to make the postseason and maybe improve their seeding. Without Garnett’s production, though, other players have had to raise their level of play.
Surprisingly, one of the players who has risen to the occasion has been Jordan Crawford. Paul Pierce and Jeff Green have increased their production with Garnett and Lee out of the lineup as well, but Crawford is undoubtedly the least noticed of these guys that have been playing better.
Boston is just 1-2 in the three games that they have played without Garnett, but that definitely can’t be attributed to Crawford. Over those three games, Crawford has averaged 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. More importantly for Crawford, who many would describe as a loose cannon on offense, he has shot 46.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from long range.
The increase in his numbers is obviously due to the increase in his time on the floor. In the 17 games that he’s been with Boston, he has averaged just 19.5 minutes per game, but that has increased to 31.3 minutes per game over the last three contests.
The key to how Crawford has been playing is his efficiency. In those 17 games with the Celtics, he has shot just 41.8 percent from the floor and 31.9 percent from three. For him to improve on those percentages so vastly is an extremely positive sign for Boston.
When Lee and Garnett return, the Celtics need Crawford to continue to play this efficiently on offense, even if his role is diminished from what it’s been over these last three games. The Celtics will greatly benefit from having a guy that they can bring off the bench to score in bunches, and Crawford can be that guy if he continues to play like this.