When asked about playing without their star point guard, Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers veteran shooting guard Jamal Crawford had this to say in an interview at Clippers.com, “Nobody in the world can be Chris Paul…So we have to make due and try to use each other’s strengths and hide each other’s weaknesses.” Crawford and the Clips have tried and succeeded thus far.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has looked to Crawford and youngster point guard Darren Collison to pick up a lot of the slack while Paul is sidelined with a separated shoulder for the next six weeks. While it has only been two full games since Paul was injured, Crawford and Collison have responded positively by performing well in their temporary roles. Let’s start with what Crawford has done.
Jamal Crawford will always and forever be known as a scorer. Coming off the bench and providing an offensive spark for his team while the starters rest is what Crawford does as well as anyone in the league. He is averaging 16.6 points per game this season and will continue to be an efficient scorer while Paul is out. J. Crossover has been more than a shooter for the Clippers these past two games, though, as he has dished out seven and eight assists in them. These are pretty noticeable numbers for a shoot first guard who is only averaging 2.7 assists a game this season.
Darren Collison has been given the starting point guard position in Paul’s absence and has done a good job of running Doc Rivers’ offense. Averaging just below 20 minutes per game this season, the fourth year point guard has recently been playing starters minutes at 36 minutes per game. He is shooting well over 60 percent from the field and is averaging 6.5 assists in his starting role. The point guard has also been doing a good job on defense this season, which may change soon due to the ratcheting up of his minutes.
“We’ll try to hold down the fort as much as possible until he [Paul] gets back,” said Crawford in an interview on Jan. 8, according to NBA.com. If Crawford and Collison can continue to score and distribute the ball effectively, this shouldn’t be a problem.