Jae Crowder is Brad Stevens’ type of player. That much already is clear.
The Boston Celtics coach showered Crowder with praise after Tuesday night’s 100-95 loss to the Orlando Magic — a game in which the newly acquired forward finished with two points and didn’t leave the bench until the fourth quarter.
Crowder, who came over from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo trade along with Jameer Nelson and Brandan Wright, won’t stand out on many stat sheets. His highest total Tuesday in any category was three — personal fouls. His impact, however, was felt as soon as he checked into the game.
The 24-year-old spent the fourth quarter flying around the court, helping lock down a Magic team that carried a 25-point lead into the frame. It was those final 12 minutes that the Celtics finally began to show some fight after sleepwalking through the first seven quarters of their Florida road trip.
?I thought the defense was much more physical and into the ball,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “Jameer read a couple of plays great, Evan read a couple of plays great. Our bigs did a great job holding their ground. And Jae just brought a different level of physicality. He was really, really into it. He?s kind of like (rookie point guard) Marcus Smart but a little bit bigger. He was pressing a bit offensively, but I was really pleased with what he did defensively.”
If Stevens is comparing Crowder to arguably his team’s best defender after just two games, there’s a good chance he won’t wait until the fourth quarter before using him in the future.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images