Crawford knows that when a team struggles early, it's often the point guard who takes the blame. He knows that winning is more important than individual stats. And he believes, deep down, that his return to the starting lineup will happen soon enough. He knows that his insecurity has gotten him into trouble. That his words, spoken in the heat of the moment, have made him look selfish. He says he regrets lashing out when he found out he'd lost his starting job. He also claims to be misunderstood. Talk to Crawford a little longer and his perspective starts to come into focus. He's been fighting adversity his entire basketball career -- an NCAA suspension his freshman season; riding the bench his rookie year in the NBA; a serious knee injury in year two; a year-long position battle with rookie Jay Williams in year three; and now yet another position battle, this time with rookie Kirk Hinrich, during his contract year. Every time Crawford appears ready to break out, an obstacle gets thrown in his way. Forgive him if he thinks the world, or the Bulls, are out to get him a little bit. Nothing has come easy for Jamal. Sometimes, even the simplest of gestures gets filtered through Crawford's experiences as a plot to bring him down. "Just look at everything objectively," he says about his problems with the Bulls. "I don't want to bring everything back up. I'm trying to get past it. . .But just look at it objectively. All anyone wants is a fair shake."I was too hoping that Crawford would finally be given the chance to just play and not have to look over his shoulder. I want to say that Bill should fit his scheme to Crawford's gifts as a scorer, and not try to force him to be John Stockton (which may or may not involve turning him white). But if this helps Crawford's game by by having him focus on his playmaking and defensive duties as a point guard, then this benching truly is for the best. So I'm in Cartwright's corner for this one, but I have to wonder how Crawford is going to be given a chance to redeem himself. By making him constantly worry about mistakes, it can only hurt his game to think Hinrich is going to take all of his minutes. Tonight's game is at home against the Timberwolves, a real NBA team...from the West. Scary. And while last night was fun, its important to note that the Celtics were on the wrong end of a back-to-back, and undoubtedly a little drained. The Bulls will probably be feeling the same tonight, and I think they need a healthy Tyson Chandler to make it a game.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Three Road Wins Almost Seems Worthy of a Grant Park Rally And at the rally Jerry Krause can be there to get booed. good times. Well that was a fun game to watch last night, the Bulls played a pretty solid game (and even some defense!) to get their third road win of the year already, matching their total from last year. The Bulls were shorthanded, with Tyson not even making the trip, and Corie Blount in street clothes with a bum knee. Luckily that size wasn't exactly needed going against an undersized team like the Celtics. They were aggresive in guarding Eddy Curry though, fronting and occasionally doubleteaming him. Curry had a nice game though, especially with the 14 rebounds. I still didn't see him working hard enough without the ball to get position. He should have gotten more thatn 7 attempts with the size advantage he had over his various defenders. Another thing of note was Scottie Pippen's play in the 2nd half. Pippen can only play in spurts, and he's obviously not the player he used to be, but one thing he gets is calls. The refs respect him and give him the benefit of the doubt when he takes a charge, or when he got fouled taking a three by Vin Baker. Nobody else on the Bulls the past 5 years have gotten much respect from the Refs, its nice to see that maybe that'll be changing. And we won't have to see Jalen standing on one end of the court whining while the rest of his teammates are playing defense. Speaking of Rose, he was back in the starting lineup last night, but Jamal Crawford wasn't, passed over again for Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich still had only 3 assists to 5 turnovers in 28 minutes, but he looked better out there last night then in previous efforts. While he's not a better player than Crawford, you can see why Cartwright likes him, he pushes the ball up fast and doesn't wait to start the offense. And Cartwright claims his main reason for benching Jamal still is his defense. However while only playing 20 minutes, Jamal was part of a big run in the second half, and hopefully that will go appreciated. But this has been 3 games where Crawford has been benched, and its looking less and less like a wakeup call and more and more like an extended stay in ole Bill's doghouse. Chad Ford today dedicated his column to Crawford's plight this year:
Posted by Matt at 11/13/2003 11:04:00 AM