The list of Celtics players that are struggling on the offensive end of the floor is an extensive one in Boston’s first round series against the Hawks, but none appear to be laboring as much as Jae Crowder.
The small forward returned from a high ankle sprain back on March 31 after an eight-game absence with the injury. Despite having nearly three full weeks of action under his belt, the 26-year-old admitted earlier this week to reporters that his ankle was still only at ’75 or 80 percent.’ With Avery Bradley out with a strained hamstring, the onus on Crowder and Boston’s offense has increased, but the struggling veteran has been unable to answer the call.
The 6-foot-6 forward finished with just two points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field in Boston’s 89-72 loss to the Hawks Tuesday night. For the series, he’s hit just 24 percent of his shot attempts overall (6-of-25), continuing a downward trend that started when he first returned from his ankle injury.
In the past three weeks, Crowder is shooting a dismal 34 percent from the field, nine percentage points below his season average. His 3-point shooting percentage has dropped even further, as he’s hit 22.5 percent of those attempts, an 11-point dip from his season mark.
“I don’t know,” Crowder said on CSNNE when asked about his shooting woes in Atlanta Tuesday night. “I’m going to look at film and see what I’m doing, but I don’t feel right. I’ll go back to ground zero and check it out.”
While the ankle issue is clearly affecting his lift on the floor, Crowder refused to use it as an excuse for his lackluster play offensively.
“I’m suiting up every night,” Crowder said. “I’m able to play. So I have to do my job and tonight I didn’t.”
With Bradley likely to remain sidelined in Game 3, Crowder just hopes he can turn the page and give Boston the kind of production it needs to get back on track in front of a raucous TD Garden crowd.
“We go home and protect home court,” he said. “Forget everything that happened. We go home and protect where we play every other night and do it for our fans, do it for ourselves and see where we’re at.”