Suns' Jamal Crawford hits 10th career game-winner to stun the Bucks on the road
Crawford is the sixth active player to reach double figures in game-winning shots
MILWAUKEE -- With the last few seconds ticking away on Friday night, the Phoenix Suns had a rare opportunity: winning a game at Fiserv Forum. Heading into the contest, the Milwaukee Bucks had lost just once all season in their new building. Now, thanks to Jamal Crawford, that number is two.
After getting a stop with the game tied 114-114, the Suns had just under 13 seconds to secure their biggest win of the season -- not that there were many to contend with. Unsurprisingly, their first option was to get the ball to Devin Booker, who had spent the entire game cooking, racking up 29 points on 13-of-26 from the field. Everyone knew that was what they wanted to do though, and that included Eric Bledsoe, who refused to let Booker catch the ball.
So the task fell to Crawford. But with nearly two decades of clutch shotmaking under his belt, that's not exactly a bad second option. The veteran did exactly what he's done his entire career; he danced with the ball, created just enough space for himself, and hoisted a mid-range jumper.
"I had the utmost confidence in him," Booker said after the Suns' 116-114 win. "I knew it was going in right when he had the ball."
It was the 10th game-winning shot in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime for Crawford in his career, making him the sixth active player to reach double figures in that category. He joins Carmelo Anthony, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade. Not a bad group to be a part of.
Crawford's clutch jumper was a thrilling moment for the Suns, especially amidst what has been a frustrating season.
"I was just sitting right here looking at Bleacher Report," said No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. "I was looking at it like 'yo I was on the court when this happened.' So when I see it on some highlights, I'm like 'I was right there. I'm right over there. You see me try to box out Brook Lopez? That's me.' Stuff like that is just so fun in life. I'm honored to be on the court and be engaged and locked in."
But zooming out, it's an important one in the development of this young Suns team. At the most basic level, it's just refreshing to get a hard-fought win after so many losses, which can pile up and really put a damper on the season. Along with that though, it's proof for the Suns that they are capable of competing with the top teams in this league.
"It was a great win for our team," first-year coach Igor Kokoskov said postgame. "It's hard to play well and beat this team. Even though it was a challenging moment for us when they came back at the start of the fourth quarter, we found the grit we needed."
Crawford echoed his coach's sentiment, saying the team "showed a lot of grit," and adding, "for me, in this short season, this has been the most gratifying win." While moments like his game-winner are obviously thrilling, Crawford said the most rewarding part of this season has been helping his young teammates develop.
"I think sometimes going from point A to point C is more gratifying than going from W to Z," he said. "Seeing the young guys take steps in the right direction, stuff that can stick with them for their whole career, it can be some of the foundational pieces, and that's gratifying as well.
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