Former Cav Crowder impresses in debut with Jazz

Jae Crowder resembled the player he was in Boston while making his debut with the Utah Jazz against Portland on Sunday night.

Jae Crowder became the second former Cleveland Cavalier to have an excellent debut with his new squad Sunday night.

Isaiah Thomas had 22 points and six assists for the Lakers in his debut for Los Angeles in a 130-123 loss at Dallas on Saturday night.

Traded by Cleveland to Utah with Derrick Rose in a three-team deal that sent Rodney Hood from Utah to Cleveland, Crowder came off the bench for the red-hot Jazz in an impressive 115-96 win at Portland.

Crowder finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 29 minutes in the victory, Utah’s ninth straight win, its longest since 2010 and the longest active streak in the NBA. Rookie Donovan Mitchell led the way with 27 points. Portland’s Damian Lillard led all scorers with 39 points.

Crowder, 27, was subbed in by Jazz coach Quin Snyder with 6:16 to play in the first quarter and hit Joe Ingles (24 points) with a perfect, in-stride pass for an assist on a 3-pointer. He misfired on his first shot, then canned a jumper from the right elbow.

More important than his points, though, Snyder had the former Celtic on the floor while Utah (28-28) was fending off a Portland rally down the stretch.

“I saw a guy that’s part of the team that threw himself into the group,” Snyder told reporters after the game. “When you’re a smart player that has feel, it’s easy to blend in with a group of guys that play unselfishly, and that’s what he did.”

Jazz center Rudy Gobert (12 points, 11 boards) said Crowder looked very comfortable.

“He’s going to fit in pretty well,” Gobert said. “He was great defensively and knocked down some big shots… he’s a smart player.”

Before making his Jazz debut, Crowder — who was described as “a miscast spare part” by the Cavaliers in a story in the Salt Lake Tribune — talked about how excited he was to join the team his dad, Corey, played with in 1992, the year after Jae was born.

“I’m here and ready to have fun,” he said. “It was great, the day I got there I got my physical, met the guys at shootaround. It felt good to meet them and see familiar faces with Jonas (Jerebko) and a couple of other guys.”

Crowder, part of the Kyrie Irving trade that sent him and Thomas to Cleveland on Aug. 22, said he was not caught off-guard by being traded by the Cavaliers.

“I kind of knew it was going down — I knew something had to give,” he said. “It just wasn’t meshing the right way.”

The other day, Crowder posted pictures of himself on Instragram from when he was a 1year-old clad in Jazz gear.

“I was excited to follow in my dad’s footsteps a little bit,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of the Jazz organization since I was a little kid, just like my dad. I was excited, my family was excited, and we’re happy to move.”

Crowder also hopes to be with the Jazz going forward. He is signed for two more seasons after this one.

“I truly believe this will work well,” he said. “Right when I came in the door and meeting with the people in the organization and the coaches, I felt this could be home for a long time.”

2 Comments on "Former Cav Crowder impresses in debut with Jazz"

  1. Good start and I’m happy for him. Just did not fit in Cleveland with the structure. As he said in his interview (paraphrasing), he likes to play on a team where coach lets the players do what they want to do.

  2. Im happy to have LeBron on the Cavs but im not sure its not a myth that he makes players better as a general statement. Thats an overused cliche for talented guys and i havent witnessed that as much with LeBron except in a few cases. JR Smith, Boobie Gibson, Jeff Green, and im surely forgetting some. Others seem to have to sacrifice their strengths to play with him, and his own style varies so much between selfish and unselfish depending which side of the bed he wakes up on. Quinn Snyders quote says a lot (“its easy to blend in…”). And im not excusing Crowder for his weaknesses in Cleveland either.

    When LeBron’s career is over im sure somebody will crunch some numbers and check whats up. Watching LeBron go one on one takes some players out of the game mentally and physically. Its mostly worth it to have that trump card, but frustrating at times for fans and the players themselves. I dont envy any Cavs GM to figure that stuff out. Also some of the fit stuff and performance with Cavs is on the GM and coaches too.

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