Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
BOSTON — Basking in the glow of a double-double performance that featured a team-high 10 assists, Jordan Crawford was asked about his passing skills after spearheading the Boston Celtics to a 120-105 triumph over the Orlando Magic on Monday night at TD Garden. “Y’all just now noticing that, huh?” he asked. “I was blessed with court vision. When a teammate is open, you find him.”
ESPN Boston-Point Made: Crawford’s court vision
Last season, when Jordan Crawford touched the ball, you almost always knew he was going to take a shot. It was frustrating & for some infuriating. This season, you could sense something different about Crawford even from the start of camp. It wasn’t that his “steez” was gone, but he simply seemed more focused. And since Brad Stevens has injected him into the PG role, he’s been flourishing. Perfect example was one of my favorite plays from last night. Brandon Bass grabs a loose ball on Orlando’s end of the court. Bass dribbles up the court, and hits an open Crawford at the three-point line. Crawford shoots..right? Wrong. Crawford rewards Kelly Olynyk who is sprinting down the lane with a beautiful pass which KO turns into an easy dunk. Court vision. Just part of his steez. Jeff Green has seen the change in Crawford too:
“I think he’s more mature,” Jeff Green said. “I know he had a bad rep coming from the Wizards [as] just a one-way player. Now he’s learning the game. He’s playing both ends. He’s bigger than a lot of guards so he can shoot right over them. And he has the mentality to turn it on when need be.”
Since Stevens made the move, Boston is 4-0 and it’s quite obvious that Avery Bradley is much more comfortable back at his natural position as a two guard. It’s a win-win situation. Bradley and Crawford have also started to develop a nice chemistry together. Not to mention their combination of speed, athleticism and explosiveness are a force to be reckoned with for any defense. And you can’t deny the numbers either:
Crawford’s impact on Boston’s offense is undeniable. Over the past four games, the Celtics own an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 109.3 when he’s on the court; it drops eight points when he’s off the floor. The downside is an uptick in the team’s defensive rating (104.4 when Crawford is on the court; 93.7 when he’s off), but it’s hard to argue with the end result, particularly with how well Bradley has played with Crawford next to him.
And as Forsberg also mentions, turnovers, which absolutely killed this team over the first few games of the season, have dropped. And as we’ve seen over the past few years, when playing in the Eastern Conference, turnovers are a back breaker. You simply will not win games when you let teams get out in transition and grab easy buckets. Not to mention how frustrating it is on a teams’ morale. But morale is good right now. Boston won it’s fourth straight last night, and has two more games at home this week-Charlotte on Wednesday and Portland on Friday. The Celtics “passed” their first big test of this young season. They beat the two-time defending NBA champions (barf) in their own building, and then came out with an impressive offensive explosion on a night that many thought could be an emotional letdown game. Not too shabby.
Wanted to take this opportunity to share a pic of Michael A. He is one of our readers and Twitter followers. Michael got to celebrate Veteran’s Day by watching the C’s beat the Magic at the Garden last night. Michael, thanks for the pic and more importantly, thank you for all that you do to protect our country. So glad the C’s gave you a big win last night.
The rest of the links: