Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford celebrated his 38th birthday Tuesday by playing his 1,252nd regular-season game — and scored 20 points in Minnesota's 123-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center — and it doesn't nearly look like his last on an NBA team.
He has played for 18 coaches in 18 seasons and just keeps on playing, whether winter or all summer long.
"Who knows?" Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked how many more birthdays Crawford might have in the NBA. "It's pretty unusual for a guard to be playing at that age. It's more common for a big, but he's put a lot into it. Good health, that's a big part of it. He's not a heavy guy, so I think that has helped him, too, and the fact that he plays year-round. He just stays in shape."
Crawford played the past five seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, who basically swapped Crawford from last season's roster with 31-year-old Lou Williams.
"I've said it: Lou will be playing until he's 50, too," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I mean both of them, both of them have figured out just play one end of the floor."
"I'm joking, I'm joking," Rivers said, laughing. "OK, I'm half-joking."
Crawford smiled when played a recording of Rivers' comments and said he knew his former coach would have some kind of line.
Stress of the job
Charlotte's Steve Clifford stepped away from coaching for nearly six weeks earlier this season so he could resolve stress-related headaches caused by sleep deprivation.
On Monday, Cleveland announced coach Tyronn Lue, 40, was doing the same for an unspecified period so he can deal with health issues.
"I worry about all of us," said Rivers, who has had his own health issues. "Coaching is hard."
Wolves forward Taj Gibson was asked if he worries about Thibodeau, his team's own driven coach who can be relentless on the sidelines.
"I worry about Thibs, I worry about Thibs all the time," he said. "He really puts a lot of work into it. He goes out there and yells because he's real passionate. He's even passionate off the court, too. He talks basketball all day long because he really wants to win. … I worry about him having a stroke or something crazy because he's so into the game."
Newly signed Derrick Rose played his fourth game with the Wolves after he hadn't played a game in a month before that.
"I feel good," said Rose, after scoring nine points in seven minutes against the Clippers. "My chest isn't burning. I'm not gasping for air out there. I feel like I'm pacing myself very well, and Thibs is doing a great job putting the right group with me when I'm out there."
Unfortunately, Rose sprained his ankle in the first half and didn't play again.
Attracting a crowd
The Wolves' streak of consecutive sellouts ended Tuesday at three, but they still have 14 this season, their most since they last made the playoffs in 2004.
"People in this city understand playoff time is coming," Gibson said. "This team is doing pretty well. It's great for the city, great for the community, great for us. Our goal throughout the whole year, try to bring the basketball feel back to the city, one game at a time. I kept telling the guys: People will come as long as you play hard and do what's right."
•The NBA fined Houston's Gerald Green $25,000 for shoving Wolves center Gorgui Dieng in the back with two hands during Sunday's game at Target Center.
•Tuesday's game was the Wolves' first against the Clippers since they traded star Blake Griffin to Detroit for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovich and draft picks in late January. "It's a different team, a different skill set," Thibodeau said.