OKLAHOMA CITY – All it takes is one shot.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a layup or a three-pointer. For Jamal Crawford, the key to getting into a zone can be as simple as a drive to the hoop.
“For me, I just need to see one go,” Crawford said after the Timberwolves’ morning shoot Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For years Wolves fans have seen Crawford get into a zone as an opponent; in Friday’s victory over Utah at Target Center, they got to see him do it for their team.
He was 0-for-3 for no points in 8:27 of playing time in the first three quarters. But the fourth? He was 6-for-7, made all three three-pointers, including one with 27 seconds left that put the Wolves up for good.
A 37-year-old veteran, he wasn’t about to let his quiet start dull his fantastic finish. “I just need to see one go through,” he said. “I get into a different mindset, and my coaches and teammates help get me there.”
Friday it was a driving layup with 9:53 left in the game that started it. On the Wolves’ next possession, Crawford hit a 20-footer. And he was off.
“It was like, ‘OK, here we go,’ ” he said.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau has seen it for years. “That’s who he is,” Thibodeau said. “It doesn’t take him much. It’s part of his mentality. He always thinks he’s hot. It’s no accident that this guy is 37 and every day he gets up extra shots. He can’t get enough of it. We were fortunate to get him.”
Off the cuff
Players were still talking Sunday about the inbounds play that set up Crawford for that late three. Thibodeau has a tome-sized playbook, but this one was diagrammed off the cuff, in the heat of the game.
“Thibs is good at that,” Jimmy Butler said. “He’s always experimenting with something. He’ll be in his office ’til 5 a.m. every day anyways. He might as well draw up 1,000 plays.”
The play had three options, but guard Jeff Teague said after the game he was going to Crawford all the way. Sunday, Thibodeau broke down what had to happen for that play to work.
First, Butler had to run hard to the basket to draw defenders. Karl-Anthony Towns had to keep his man occupied, to the point where Crawford’s defender, Thabo Sefolosha, had to pay attention both to what was happening with Towns and his own man.
And then Crawford. “His setup was terrific,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what veterans do. They have a craftiness to it.”
On the pick-and-roll, Crawford knew it was his shot when Sefolosha went under. “I knew that was the chance,” Crawford said. “That was the moment. There wouldn’t be another moment like that. I went for it.”
Sefolosha recovered and contested the shot, but Crawford hit it, his third three of the quarter.
Iowa sets camp roster
The Iowa Wolves — the Timberwolves’ G League affiliate in Des Moines — announced its 14-player training camp roster Sunday. That list includes Melo Trimble, Amile Jefferson and Shawne Williams.
Those three were the final players cut from the Timberwolves roster; Williams, a veteran, was cut the day after he was signed. He last played in the NBA in the 2014-15 season.
Also, Iowa selected four players in the G League draft, including Marquise Moore, who was taken with the eighth pick. Moore, a 6-2 guard, is from George Mason University, where he averaged 16.9 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior.