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Clippers' Jamal Crawford gets the start, and does something with it

CLIPPERS FYI

Crawford scores 17 points in the Clippers' victory over Washington after getting the start over Willie Green. Coach Doc Rivers is unsure whether he will go with Crawford or Green in future.

December 15, 2013|By Broderick Turner

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WASHINGTON  — To his surprise, Jamal Crawford started for the Clippers when they played the Washington Wizards on Saturday night at the Verizon Center.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he started Crawford in place of Willie Green because he wanted more spacing for the first unit and to take some of the ball handling pressure off Chris Paul.

It worked out, as Crawford scored 17 points in the Clippers' victory over the Wizards.

Crawford started his first game since April 9, 2012, when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"You can be a lot more patient when you're a starter, because you know you're going to be out there some," Crawford said. "When you come off the bench, you kind of have to make a positive impact immediately, whether it's scoring or assisting. But as a starter, you can pick your spots a lot."

Rivers said he's not sure whether he will stick with Crawford as the starter or put Green back into the lineup.

Crawford helped his cause by going six for 14 from the field.

"I didn't shoot for a while," Crawford said. "But I'm going to get better at that. I didn't want to rock the boat. In the second half, I was a little more aggressive picking my spots."

Green had assumed the starter's role after J.J. Redick went down with a broken right hand and torn ligaments on the right side of his wrist.

Green, who started seven games this season, was averaging 5.1 points and shooting just 31.9% from the floor, including 26.7% (eight for 30) from three-point range, before Saturday night's game.

Green played 21 minutes 29 seconds against the Wizards, but didn't score, missing all three of his shots.

Green also suffered an injured left pinkie finger that was bent at the knuckle.

"With the second group, I think Willie is more calming," Rivers said. "The DC (Darren Collison) and Willie combination to me is a little better than Jamal and DC, because DC is a scoring point" guard.

Dudley responds with better effort

If he were Rivers, Jared Dudley said after his poor effort against the Nets on Thursday night, the small forward said he would have "benched" himself.

"Well, I'm glad he's not me," Rivers said.

So was Dudley, who kept his starting job against the Wizards on Saturday night.

Dudley had 16 points on seven-for-10 shooting, including two for four on three-pointers.

"I came in with the mind-set to be a little bit more aggressive," Dudley said. "And I just think it's confidence. The first ball went in and I hit my first three."

Dudley had missed six of his seven shots against the Nets, three of his four three-pointers, and scored just four points.

He was frustrated with his play.

"You know you're struggling when you have family and friends texting you," Dudley said. "You try to block it out, but it's tough to block out."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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