HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Having spent his entire adult life in the NBA, Jamal Crawford learned a long time ago that looking back never provides the same sensation as the promise of what’s to come.
That’s why he was all smiles about his firs trip back to Philips Arena since signing with Portland last month as a free agent, and not as worried about whoever will be standing in front of him when the lights come on tonight.
When the Hawks and Trail Blazers square off (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), Crawford’s mind won’t be on what he did in two celebrated years with the Hawks. It won’t be on the awards won or the playoff experiences he gained. It will be about what could be with his new team … and breaking out of the slump he’s been in (he’s averaging 10.8 points on 35 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from beyond the 3-point line in the Blazers’ last five games).
“It feels good to be back here and in a familiar environment,” he said. “But it also feels good to be wearing this Blazers jersey and to have moved on to a great situation.”
This time a month ago Crawford wasn’t sure where he’d be playing. He wasn’t sure there’d even be a season, having waited out the lockout as a free agent and then getting shoved into an abbreviated offseason flurry of activity that took place basically over the course of a week.
“It was tough,” Crawford said. “It was almost like a tornado, when you’re caught up in something that’s bigger than anything, and how compressed everything was. At first, you weren’t even sure we were going to have a season and then when we did, you couldn’t do this or that. It was just a weird situation. And that’s why, moving forward, things are going to be a lot more stable.”