Now a Warrior, Crawford still at home in Garden

Now a Warrior, Crawford still at home in Garden
March 6, 2014, 12:00 am
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BOSTON — Although Jordan Crawford was a member of the Celtics for less than a year, he acknowledged it felt like home.

He certainly seemed to make himself comfortable on Wednesday, scoring 15 points off the Golden State bench in 19 minutes as part of the Warriors' 108-88 blowout victory at TD Garden.

From the moment Crawford entered the game, he was attacking the rim looking to score - a role that's somewhat different from the one he had in Boston prior to being traded.

With the Celtics starting the season with Rajon Rondo out recovering from a torn right ACL injury, Crawford was eventually given the keys to the offense as the team's starting point guard four games into the season.

Known primarily as a scorer, he showed promise as a playmaker in his first real opportunity to run a team.

With the Celtics, Crawford averaged 13.7 points and a career-high 5.7 assists per game while appearing in 39 games with a career-high 35 starts.

He was finally getting his shot to play the position he's always felt was best suited for his skills, even if team after team pegged him to play off the ball more.

"That's probably the hardest part of leaving," said Crawford, who added that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told him during the preseason that he might be traded at some point this season. "It really did feel like home even though I was here for less than a year."

Not only did Crawford play more consistent minutes than he had at any other stop along his NBA odyssey, but he also earned his first league-wide honor when he was named the Eastern Conference player of the week (Dec. 2-8).

In that week, he averaged 23.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3 rebounds a game, while shooting 61 percent from the field, as the Celtics won all three games they played.

That period of time, capped off with a 41-point victory at New York, was easily the most memorable time in Boston for Crawford.

"It was a great time," Crawford said, grinning. "Ain't gonna lie."

However, the upside to him being traded along with MarShon Brooks (who has since been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers) to the Warriors is that he's now with a team that's in the thick of a playoff race - something that Crawford admits is exciting to him.

"That's going to be fun, playoff time," he said. "Playoff time's gonna be fun."

Until then, he has to adapt to his new role which in a lot of ways is similar to the role he was asked to play prior to this season.

"Now I have a role [in Golden State] and it's like, gotta go in, shoot right away, miss some shots you coming out," Crawford said. "[In Boston] it was just whatever the team needed to win ... pass, create, whatever it took."

But by no means is Crawford griping about his new situation.

"That's what they want," Crawford said of the Warriors. "Gotta give them what they want."

While Crawford has had his share of naysayers who aren't all that thrilled about his style of play, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been and remains a huge Crawford supporter.

Even after he was traded, Stevens has kept in touch via text messages.

And Crawford has been quick to talk about how he appreciated his time in Boston and more specifically, playing for Stevens.

"He gave me a chance," Crawford said of Stevens. "He put me on display at the point guard; that's the biggest thing."

After the game, Stevens had a chance to speak with Crawford briefly.

"I told him, 'I hope he finishes strong,'" Stevens said. "I'm a fan. It's good to see him have success. But I don't like it when it's against our team."

Stevens added, "you do have ... you invest in those guys. And when they leave you, no longer with you, you want to see them have success. Again, I would like to have guarded him a little better than we did."