Blazers Jamal Crawford’s SLAM Feature; Opens Up About His Role During Portland’s Hectic Season

Blazers guard Jamal Crawford talks to Sports Media World for SLAM feature on his whirlwind first season in Portland:

Portland Trail Blazers' Jamal Crawford drives as Utah Jazz's Alec Burks (10) defends in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, in Portland, Ore.

By Brendan Bowers:

In one day the Portland Trail Blazers traded Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, released Greg Oden and fired Head Coach Nate McMillan. Talk about a whirlwind. Jamal Crawford spoke to SLAMonline about his reaction to those moves, his emotions that day, and his professional approach to basketball that he leaned on amidst rumors that he’d be traded too. He also described his extensive foundation work in the Northwest, talked about connecting with Blazers fans through Twitter, as well as offering an update on how his close friend Brandon Roy is doing these days off the court.

SLAM: Dating back to free agency, and the beginning of the season, what were some of the biggest factors for you in choosing to sign with Portland in the first place?

Jamal Crawford: Well for me personally, Brandon Roy is one of my best friends. With them losing him, I thought it made sense because they were losing wing scoring, and I felt like they had everything else to compete. They had a defensive philosophy, they had Coach McMillan, they had an All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge, they also had bigs that were pick-and-pop guys, and pick-and-roll guys as well, and so I just thought it made sense.

I felt like this was a Playoff team, and a team that I could help go further. Then we started off the season 7-2, so there was a lot of progress, and everyone was like, “Wow.” Even for me, it was kind of surprising because I didn’t know this would take off so fast with a short training camp, guys getting in late, signing Ray Felton, me coming in here as well. I thought it would take a little bit longer as far as time to adjust.

We got off to such a fast start though that our fall has been dramatic, I think we’re right underneath .500 right now. If we’d started off the season .500, people would be like well you lost Brandon Roy, and Greg Oden’s still hurt; there would have been lower expectations possibly. But we started off so fast that it put a lot of pressure on us, and now we’re just trying to fight to get into the Playoffs.

SLAM: Looking back, what would you say happened? Did you guys start better than maybe you should have, or did something happen between that 7-2 start until now to cause that dramatic fall?

JC: Honestly, it wasn’t like one event that happened. I don’t think it was one thing. Actually, where it started, when we started to struggle was when we played OKC at home. LaMarcus blocked Kevin Durant’s shot, and at the time they called goaltending. The NBA came out the next day and said it wasn’t a goaltend, and that they made a mistake, but it started there. After that I think it carried over into our next game with Houston, and we lost that game also.

Then we went on our first 11- or 12-day road-trip, and that’s when I think it really started; we went .500, and then dropped beneath .500. So for us, I think it was the way it kind of rushed over us at that point, wondering how we go from being the number No. 2 team in the West, to just playing .500 or average basketball.

Then I think everybody started pressing a little bit. Coach McMillan tried to do some different things as far as lineups and rotations, and then as far as the wins and losses are concerned anything can happen. If a team loses, trades can happen, or people can get fired, and that was what ended up happening at the trade deadline. 

For Full Article: http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2012/03/qa-jamal-crawford/

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Posted on March 24, 2012, in NBA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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