It takes a special amount of humility to be a bench player: hardly are they a household name, they often work with inconsistent amounts of opportunity, but have to be ready to step up at a moments notice. The Clippers' bench, in the last few years, has been anything but consistent.
But in the last ten days or so, the Clippers bench has gotten the opportunity to be the stars, while the starters took rest against the Thunder and the Jazz. Jamal Crawford, attempting to solidify his Six Man of the Year bid, led the way in both games -- having 32 and 30 points in the respective games. In the first installment, against the Thunder, he was joined by Austin Rivers, who also had 32 points. With Rivers out against the Jazz, however, Cold Aldrich became Jamal's sidekick, putting up 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.
Not only having solid performances throughout the whole game, the two also hit huge shots. Cole sent the game to overtime, while Jamal hammered down the win with a three pointer that left less than a second on the clock.
After the game, the two got to enjoy some superstar attention:
Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul, who did not make the trip to Utah, were watching their teammates from afar:
wow great team win!! if @JCrossover isn't 6th man of the year I don't know who is!— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) April 9, 2016
Jamal, having hit the biggest shot of the night, was overwhelmed by the attention:
Jamal Crawford: "I had to restart my phone I had so many messages."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 9, 2016
Surely, Crawford and Aldrich have had moments throughout their younger years during which they were the best players on their team; however, on this Clippers team they are certainly not. But these moments, which provide so much confidence and clutch experience, may prove valuable for the upcoming playoffs.
Doc Rivers will ultimately have to shorten the rotation, therefore limiting the minutes of Jamal and Cole, but if someone gets in foul trouble, they will need to be ready. And if last night against the Jazz was any indication, they seem ready for the opportunity.