Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson have always shared a familial bond. The Seattle natives attended the same high school and were later teammates for three years when they played for the New York Knicks. On Wednesday, their friendship turned into a sibling rivalry, as big brother Crawford got the better of his little brother, helping the Portland Trail Blazers survive a seesaw battle against the Golden State Warriors in 93-91 victory at ORACLE Arena.
Playing without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who suffered a sprained left ankle against the Wizards the night before, the Trail Blazers entered Wednesday’s contest looking to expunge an eight-year losing streak in Oakland. The Blazers had dropped 11 of 12 at the ORACLE, but thanks in part to Crawford’s clutch performance, scoring five points in the final 1:03; the Blazers come-from-behind victory put an end to their Bay Area woes.
Crawford provided the spark that Portland was in search of from their bench. He ran the team smoothly at the point and when the game was on the line; Crawford provided the clutch plays Portland had been desperately seeking. With the Blazers trailing 90-88 in the final period and on the verge of suffering another late-game no show, Crawford, with Robinson guarding him pulled up from the top of the key and swished in a 3-pointer to give Portland a one-point advantage, 91-90. After Robinson split a pair of free throws to tie the score, Crawford was fouled on the other end on a drive to the cup. With Robinson in his ear trying to distract him, Crawford calmly stepped to the charity stripe with 44 seconds remaining and drained the game-winning foul shots. It was a bittersweet moment for Crawford, who finished with 14 points, six assists and two steals, but in the end he was pleased with the outcome.
“He’s like a little brother to me,” Crawford told reporters of Robinson. “We went to high school together and were teammates for three years in the NBA. I’m still the big brother. Heck, he had a pretty good game, too.”
In tight game where every basket was crucial, the Warriors star guard Monta Ellis (10 points) was sidelined late (due to illness) and looked on as Robinson ran the show. Unfortunately, Robinson, who scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, couldn’t get it done down the stretch. With six seconds remaining, the 5’9” Robinson stumbled on the high pick-and-roll through the lane and shoveled a pass to Brandon Rush (two points) in the corner. The pass was late, as Rush’s desperation 3-pointer caromed off the rim after the buzzer, and the Warriors three-game win streak came to an end. David Lee posted 29 points and 11 rebounds.
The other catalyst for Portland was Gerald Wallace, who was perfect from behind the arc (4-for-4) to finish with 24 points, six rebounds and two steals. The Blazers (16-14) snapped their two-game losing streak and will head back to Rip City to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, while the Warriors (11-15) head to Oklahoma City to square off against Kevin Durant and the Thunder.