Zone Defense Affecting Jamal Crawford
(Larry) Drew coached (Jamal) Crawford in Atlanta two seasons ago and made sure his former player would not beat him on this night by implementing a zone defense as soon as Crawford and the Los Angeles Clippers’ vaunted second unit entered the game. The result was a scoreless first half for the Clippers bench, a subpar night for Crawford, who went scoreless through the first three quarters, and a 104-93 win for the Hawks.
Crawford began the season on a torrid pace, scoring at least 20 points in seven of his first 11 games and shooting around 50 percent from the field through his first nine games. Crawford, however, hasn’t been the same player since. Over his past five games he is shooting 35.5 percent (22-of-62) from the field and hasn’t scored more than 20 points since Nov. 17.
Not surprisingly, Crawford’s declining production has coincided with the declining production of the Clippers’ bench and the team’s four-game losing streak.
“It started against Chicago, honestly,” Crawford said. “They started trapping as soon as I got the ball. It’s weird because usually when we’re in pick-and-roll, that’s when teams decide to trap. But they’re leaving their man. They’re trying to deny a lot more. They’re tilting. They’re adjusting their whole defense. It’s almost like a receiver in football. There’s no more single coverage; it’s a zone.”