Jamal Crawford drives to the basket in Game 2 (Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty…)
Before the Clippers played the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Jamal Crawford found out some disappointing news: He didn't win Sixth Man of the Year.
In Game 2 later that evening, he played as though he had a grudge. He had 13 points on a flawless six-for-six shooting midway through the second quarter, helping give the Clippers reserves a 19-2 first half advantage over the Grizzlies' bench. He finished with 15 points, two rebounds and three steals.
After the Clippers' 93-91 win, Crawford claimed that his dominant performance had nothing to do with having a sour taste in his mouth from the morning's news.
"Honestly it's more about winning than anything," Crawford said. "I know a lot of people say go out there and prove why you should have been this or that, but you kind of feel like you've been proving it all season so it's not about that."
His teammates, however, may not be so sure.
"It's funny, Grant [Hill] and I were talking after shoot around today," Blake Griffin said, "and we were talking about the Sixth Man thing, it was on Sports Center. Grant turned to me and said, 'You watch, Jamal is going to have a big night tonight, he's gonna come out hot'...and he was."
Crawford was the third leading scorer for the Clippers this season, averaging 16.5 points a game. His crafty crossovers and silky shooting impressed many players around the league, including superstar Kobe Bryant.
"He gets my nomination for Sixth Man of the Year," Bryant said in January, shortly after the Clippers had strung together a franchise-best 17 wins in a row.
The award ended up going to the New York Knicks' J.R. Smith.
Even though Crawford isn't verbally expressing his disappointment, it's written all over his play on the court, a perceived snub that may prove very costly for the Grizzlies who are now down 2-0 in their first-round playoff series.
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Clippers' Jamal Crawford loses sixth-man award to J.R. Smith