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.
But it wasn’t just the amount of points he scored; the timing of them was even more important.
After leading by as many as 27 points in the first half, Denver opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run.
It was Crawford’s 9-footer in the lane that pushed the Celtics lead back to 13 points with almost 10 minutes to play.
And later in the third when Denver had cut Boston’s lead down to just three points, the Celtics closed out the quarter with an 11-4 run which included two points and an assist from Crawford.
In the fourth quarter, the Nuggets were down to the game’s final minute and trailed by just seven points.
Once again it was Crawford stepping up with a 3-pointer – his only made basket in the fourth – that gave the Celtics a 10-point lead with 39.5 seconds to play.
On the cusp of free agency, Crawford is playing the best basketball of his career. Not only is he producing buckets, but he’s playing smart.
Why the change in Crawford’s game? Did he wake up one morning and suddenly get it? Or is Brad Stevens pushing all the right buttons? Let’s say it’s a combination of the two.
Does Crawford have a future with the Celtics? With Rondo anchoring the point position and an extension looming for Avery Bradley, there isn’t room for Crawford as a starter. But his ability to score and/or run the offense is extremely valuable off the bench.
I’d love to see Crawford stick around, but I don’t think the Celtics will be willing to pay him what he can get on the market. I’m expecting Danny Ainge to move Crawford at the trade deadline.
Related links: Globe – Crawford thriving in new role
On Page 2, Rondo and Melo address the “recruiting” rumors.
Meanwhile, Rondo’s former coach at Oak Hill Academy, Steve Smith, told USA Today this week that Carmelo Anthony has been recruiting the Celtics point guard to play for the Knicks.
Rondo was bemused.
“Well, (Smith) must know something that I don’t know,” Rondo said with one of the season’s great non sequiturs.
“C’mon, man. In my book, that’s tampering,” he (Anthony) said.
And he’s right. NBA players aren’t permitted to recruit any other player under contract to play for their team. But the suggestion that Anthony would be recruiting someone to come to New York is good news for the Knicks.
If there’s any recruitment going on, it should be Rondo recruiting Anthony. NY is a sh*t storm.
I’d take Melo on the Celtics, but not at max money. How about 4 years, $40 million? Ya know, Jeff Green money.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Turning over a new leaf | Hump’s bump in playing time pays off | Stevens on Olynyk close to being back | CSNNE – Celtics protect home court | Olynyk’s return pushed back one week | Celtics relying more on 3s | Sully leading way in plus/minus |