Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 4: Jamal Crawford, by the way, is balling
We interrupt the talk about fights and flops with the news that Jamal is having a good series.
Jamal was known as a good scorer/volume shooter on bad teams when he came to Atlanta. He shed that image with the most efficient season of his career while playing on a good team. Jamal also was the only guy to show up in the playoffs against Orlando last season but hardly anyone noticed because the Hawks were taking beatdowns (good scorer, bad team again).
After Jamal’s production and efficiency fell off this season in L.D.’s egalitarian offense, hardly anyone was expecting what we’ve seen so far in this series. According to ESPN Stats, Jamal is just the seventh guy in league history to score 20 points or more as a reserve in three consecutive postseason games.
“It’s different because in the playoffs, everybody knows every play you are calling,” Jamal said. “They went over it. They have had three days to prepare. At times it comes down to making plays and creating stuff. I love the big stage. I love playing at the highest level. I used the last month of the season to get in a rhythm and get relaxed.”
That part about loving the big stage is true. Anyone who knows Jamal will tell you he loves the attention. Shoot, he will tell you it’s the reason he was hyped about joining the Hawks: “I was just excited about getting to play on the big stage and on a good team because more people notice that. ”
Jamal’s love of the limelight is an emotional counter to the logical argument that he can’t keep this up because he’s shooting way over his norm, especially 3-pointers. It’s also a way to explain how that lucky, banked-in, challenged 3 in Game 3 sort of made sense in a Jamal kind of way.
“It’s no fluke, really,” Al said. “We are probably a little surprised at the way that shot went in. But he likes that. He likes being in that position.”
- Twin appeared to be moving a bit stiffly before the game but he’s in the starting lineup. “Just try to keep it warm and pay through any discomfort,” he said.
- L.D. on Al possibly guarding Dwight: “I won’t completely rule that out. We will just have to look at the rhythm of the game and the flow of the game.”
- Al on defending Dwight without fouling: “It’s really tough. If you are fronting him, maybe you can get away with some stuff. The whole key is to keep him off [the block] and make him shoot over you. You have to know when to [front] him. You have to pick your spots.”
- Hilton Armstrong: “I have to wait for my name to be called to try to defend Dwight and give a couple hard fouls if need be. . . . We just have to try to be solid and hold our ground against him. He’s strong but we have to keep fighting and be physical with him.”
- L.D. on Stan Van Gundy’s flop complaints: “Maybe that evens up all of the illegal screens that’s been set. . . . We haven’t gotten the whistle. We are not going to cry and complain about it. We are just going to keep playing. This is what playoff basketball is. You can’t cry about a whistle, you have to learn to play through it.”
- Van Gundy said he’s not “posturing for calls” but just doesn’t like flopping. “I am talking about 7-foot, 270-pound guys falling down like they are grade-school kids out there. It’s not just our series. You see it all the time in the NBA. It’s something I don’t like. I think it’s bad for the NBA and I wish it would stop. I don’t have any problem with how the series is being called. . . . A lot of the flops they haven’t even called fouls on Dwight, which is good. I’m just saying don’t flop. Stand up and play.”
- Zaza: “So what do you expect him to say, Dwight keeps elbowing guys? Of course he is going to defend his player. I am not surprised. But I know I am not [flopping]. We are just trying to play basketball. We are trying to win the game. That is our goal.”
- Q-Rich is starting in place of J-Rich. “It allows us to stay bigger,” Van Gundy said. “I like J.J. coming off the bench. We can run some stuff for him. It doesnt’ put all of our offensive guys on the floor at the same time.”
- Arenas will be back in Orlando’s rotation. “We are going to need five perimeter guys,” Van Gundy said. “He’s going to be in there and I expect him to play well.”
- L.D. on how Orlando’s lineup change might affect Joe: “The way they’ve been playing him, they’ve been coming every single time just a matter of how we play out of it. I don’t see that much difference. Dwight is coming every single time.”
- Said Joe: “I wouldn’t say it opens up much. They may double a lot more. With Jason, I thought they picked spots where they played one-one-one and were satisfied with it. Now if a smaller man is on me maybe they come with the double team a lot quicker. We have to see. I think it’s neither here nor there. If we come out with the effort we need we definitely can get a win.”
- Q-Rich: “We are going to bring out intensity. As far as all of that extra stuff goes that Collins and them are doing over there, we can’t control anything. But like [J-Rich] said, we going to protect ourselves. We are not going to be bullied or back down from anything.”
- L.D.: “We haven’t taken a step back when it gets physical and emotions are high. Because when you do that, you expose yourself. We don’t condone fighting but we are not going to back down.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat