- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2011

If every cloud has a silver lining, then losing John Wall to a one-game suspension last week gave Jordan Crawford a chance to shine. From coach Flip Saunders‘ perspective, it’s a pretty bright picture.

“This has been a great opportunity for Jordan and for both of those guys, especially playing together these last 20 games,” Saunders said. “They’ve had a chance to play with each other and grow together, and I think the reason we’re having some success is because of how they’ve been able to mesh together. They have great potential. I think they complement each other.”

During Wall’s one-game absence against the Cleveland Cavaliers a week ago, Crawford, normally a two-guard, had a chance to show off a few skills at the point, proving to Saunders he can run the show when necessary.

John doesn’t always have to handle the ball; Jordan can handle it and bring it up,” Saunders said. “He can initiate the offense, so I think it makes it difficult [for defenders].”

Wall, the lightning-fast point guard from Kentucky, was drafted No. 1 overall by the Wizards and is clearly the centerpiece the team will build around for the future.

Crawford, who played for Xavier, was also a first-round pick, drafted 27th overall by the New Jersey Nets before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards already knew what they had with Wall, but Crawford, who was obtained from Atlanta in the Kirk Hinrich trade in February, is yielding positive dividends.

“We knew [Crawford] had skills from the standpoint of his ability to score, but I really wasn’t aware of his intangibles, like his competitive drive,” Saunders said. “Jordan’s a great competitor, and he really wants to win. He was very unassuming off the floor, very quiet. He’s totally different when he steps on the floor.”

Crawford, who saw limited playing time in Atlanta, said he’s happy to be here and have a chance to prove himself.

“They brought me here with open arms, and I just took advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep it up for these last remaining games.”

He’s also excited about getting to run the floor with Wall.

“We’ve only played together for a handful of games, so it [the chemistry with Wall] can definitely get stronger,” Crawford said. “We can find each other’s weakness and strong points, and we can flourish.

“I’m just trying to get better every day. I’m trying to do as much as I can and create something special here.”

Wall thinks the two already have great chemistry.

“Sometimes he gets the rebound or the outlet, and he’s looking for me. I told him to go ahead,” Wall said. “I told him, ‘You can score, you can make the plays, too. You’re not a selfish player.’ I know where he is on the court, and he knows where I am.

“We’re just finding each other and making the job easier for each other.”

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