NBA: Bobcats give up 50 to Crawford
CHARLOTTE ó Maybe a defensive coordinator will work in basketball. But it sure helps when you’ve got a guy hitting almost every shot at the other end.
Behind 50 points from Jamal Crawford, the Golden State Warriors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 110-103 on Saturday night, giving Warriors coach Don Nelson a win in his first game with a new coaching structure.
Yielding control of his NBA-worst defense to assistant Keith Smart and calling him the “defensive coordinator,” the Warriors did just enough at that end and let Crawford dominate on offense in his best game since being acquired from New York last month.
“He’s an amazing scorer when he heats up,” Nelson said.
Crawford was 14-of-26 from the field, 5-of-8 from 3-point range and made 17 of 18 free throws. He was two points shy of his career high, and became the first Warrior to reach 50 points since Antawn Jamison did it in consecutive games in the 2000-01 season.
Crawford continually beat Raja Bell and Raymond Felton off the dribble for layups or fouls, bringing the type of explosive offense the Warriors envisioned when they sent Al Harrington to the Knicks to get him.
“I feel like I can pretty much get any shot I want,” Crawford said. “I let people off the hook by settling for jump shots.”
Golden State played again without top scorers Corey Maggette (hamstring) and Stephen Jackson (hand), who is not expected to return until Friday, making Crawford the go-to guy.
Kelenna Azubuike added 21 points and the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak with Nelson and Smart co-coaching the team.
Gerald Wallace scored 26 points,and Raja Bell added 21 for the Bobcats, who failed to win three in a row for the first time this season and couldn’t contain Crawford.
“Basically you’ve got a guy out there with his confidence as high as the sky and he’s only playing one end,” Wallace said of Crawford. “He’s only playing offense, so what can you say?”
The Warriors’ defense faltered early in the fourth quarter, as the Bobcats cut a 12-point deficit to 95-88 on Felton’s 3-pointer with 4:53 left. Crawford responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession, then later added two free throws and a mid-range jumper.
It was quite a turnaround from a night earlier, when Crawford scored six points on 3-of-15 shooting.
“I was just out of it yesterday,” Crawford said. “I got mad (at myself) yesterday and I played horribly because of it.”