Jordan Crawford’s mouth is rarely not running when he’s on the basketball. If he’s in a good shooting groove, his opponents will hear it. If his team is ruling the court, there won’t be any need to look at the scoreboard.
“Not everybody can handle the way I talk trash,” Crawford said on Tuesday. “I get under people’s skin.”
Crawford had a well-publicized incident a few weeks ago, when he had a little dustup with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics during a pickup game in Los Angeles. Garnett reportedly slapped Crawford “upside his head” after Crawford starting yapping, but he vehemently denied that Garnett’s open hand ever connected with his face.
“I don’t get slapped by anyone,” Crawford said. “You guys need to watch that word. Slap? Didn’t nobody slap me.”
Crawford explained that Garnett took exception with some of his words, pushed him and challenged him. Paul Pierce tried to separate them, but Crawford demanded that he let him go. Garnett and Crawford squared up, but they never exchanged punches, and he said Garnett shoved his head away after things had subsided and his back was turned. Crawford thinks Garnett was stunned to see him bark back.
“He messed with the wrong one,” Crawford said.
Crawford has been sharing the backcourt with John Wall and will start when the team hosts Philadelphia in the preseason opener on Friday. He will hold on to that role if Nick Young doesn’t re-sign but hopes to maintain that spot even if Young does come back.
“Yeah, that’s my attitude,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going out there and starting, and if Nick come back, he’ll be a great asset to the team. We can make a big run.”
Coach Flip Saunders said he expects Crawford to continue the success of last season, when he erupted after arriving in a trade deadline deal with Atlanta and averaged 19.3 points in 18 starts. He also compared Crawford to former sixth-man of the year, Jason Terry.
“Guys that can score, that’s something a lot of players never really lose,” Saunders said. “He had the ability to do that out of college and that’s why a lot of guys in Atlanta said how he played for us was how he played in practice. He was in a situation where he played behind a guy who was getting $100 million [Joe Johnson]. It’s tough to get some playing time in that situation.
“He’s got a unique ability to score,” Saunders said. “He’s got a great passion for the game. Great enthusiasm. Very competitive — sometimes, maybe too competitive. He likes to talk a lot. Sometimes, you’ve got to calm him down a little bit.”
Crawford hasn’t annoyed anyone through the first five days of camp, with his spunky attitude and cockiness raising the intensity level during scrimmages. “I’m having a lot of fun,” Crawford said. “When it gets rough, about that third hour, people start to get drowsy, so I try to bring a little energy to it.”