Heinsohn, Crawford share special bond

Heinsohn, Crawford share special bond
December 28, 2013, 12:00 am
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BOSTON — If you get to today's game against Cleveland early enough, you'll find Boston Celtics guard Jordan Crawford sitting on the Celtics bench by himself.

It's his time to get his thoughts together, a chance to focus on the task awaiting him.

But often that solitude is interrupted by Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn spending some time talking to him.

Solitude?

Or, time with Tommy Heinsohn?

Crawford will take Door No. 2, every time.

There's no way to tell if those pre-game conversations at home games have statistically helped Crawford play any better.

But he admits they do put him in a better frame of mind, knowing one of the greatest players in Celtics lore wants to spend time with him.

"I definitely listen up and open my ears to him," Crawford told CSNNE.com. "He gives me information that doesn't even deal with basketball; career moves after basketball and he also talks about the game."

Heinsohn, basketball analyst for Comcast SportsNet New England, has been one of Crawford's more outspoken fans this season.

"He's a keeper and a half," Heinsohn told CSNNE.com. "We're going to have a terrific backcourt with those three guys, (Rajon) Rondo, him (Crawford) and (Avery) Bradley. The three of them cover all the bases."

As far as the gist of their pre-game conversations, Heinsohn says it's more about cheering him on rather than offering up coaching tips.

"Well, I always kind of watch players who come to the team ... sometimes they get down," Heinsohn said.

Crawford has played with a high level of confidence all season, with Heinsohn's pre-game talks only helping.

Heinsohn recalls his conversations with Crawford emphasizing the positives that he has brought to the Celtics this season.

"With a guy like Crawford, 'Great job. You're really doing a hell of a job running this team,'" Heinsohn recalls telling him. "'You've made your mark.'"

Like many, Heinsohn thought Crawford was primarily a shooter when the Celtics acquired him last season.

"All you did for the first month was pass the ball," Heinsohn told Crawford. "Now I know why."

In addition to compliments, Heinsohn said he also reminds Crawford of how important his job is to the Celtics success.

"'There's two things you ought to be aware of; the prime job you have is keeper of the pace of the game,'" Heinsohn told Crawford. "You are the rabbit that makes the greyhounds run. And the other is, when do you take your shots, because you can score almost anytime.'"

Heinsohn added, "all I did primarily was compliment him, reinforce what he's doing well."

And those words have resonated with Crawford.

"He's a legend," Crawford said. "He's been part of every championship here. Just to have him want to talk to me like that, it's exciting."