Allen Crabbe, who shined as one of the Trail Blazers’ top Summer League scorers in July, put forth his best performance of exhibition play last night, scoring a team-high 25 points against the No. 1 ranked defensive team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. He finished the game 9-12 from the field, including 5-6 from deep, in 25 minutes off the bench. Once he got hot, he stayed hot, and it all felt natural to him.
"After knocking down the first two, I just felt comfortable. I feel like this year I’m feeling a lot more confident letting the game just come to me and not forcing stuff. Letting the flow of the game just take over," Crabbe said, before also crediting his cohorts. "My teammates got me the ball when I was open and we executed well on offense knocking down shots."
We have always seen this sort of humility from Crabbe, but the confidence is new. He will need it in the coming weeks as he vies for a real rotation spot on a rebuilt roster that is packed with wings. Excelling in the room afforded by the absence of Gerald Henderson (hip) and Moe Harkless (concussion), he caught the eye of head coach Terry Stotts.
"[Crabbe] was tremendous." Stotts noted. "Obviously, when you shoot the ball that well it kind of speaks for itself, but he’s been a solid defender, he got out in transition, got a lot of hands on balls, got a couple rebounds in the crowd, so it was a really good night for him."
Crabbe should once again have the opportunity for big minutes in Sacramento tomorrow, if Harkless is unable to return to game action. Although Stotts indicated that Harkless will "most likely" travel with the team, his status remains unknown and he was not available to take questions. Regardless, Crabbe is ready to prove himself again and help redeem the Trail Blazers after their loss against the Kings earlier this week.
"We should have won that one, but we’ll get this one," he assured.
Even in preseason, the stakes are high for Crabbe. Continuing to perform at a high level now could mean his first opportunity to break out during the regular season. The Trail Blazers’ announcement earlier today that CJ McCollum will play increased minutes at point guard suggests that more room may be available at shooting guard for those who earn a spot. Crabbe is a flexible fit at the 2 and the 3, but he just wants to see the court.
"Whatever opportunity I have, I’m going to just take advantage of it. Everybody knows with the roster changes a lot of opportunities opened up. Whenever I get time on the floor I’m just making the most of it," he said. "I just want to play. I feel like everybody that’s in the NBA that’s on a team wants to play. That’s my main focus, I just want to play. That’s all there is to it."