Hawks coach Mike Woodson issued the challenge after Saturday's first training camp scrimmage. Jamal Crawford and his buddies on the reserve squad supplied him with a resounding answer Sunday.
They not only held up against the starters unit in Sunday's second scrimmage. They won in overtime behind a "fantastic" effort from the veteran guard, whose scoring and playmaking ruled the day.
Unofficially, Crawford finished with more than half of his team's 49 points and at least 10 assists in a one-point win. Much more important to Crawford, however, was the resilience the second team showed after being pushed around Saturday.
"I made sure to have my guys get some rest [Saturday nght] and we came back ready to play ball. We came out here to compete," Crawford said after putting on a dazzling all-court display, including a four-point play early and the game-winning points in overtime. "It definitely creates the right tone for us. It makes us better. And it will make things easier in games when we have everybody competing at a high level.
"If you can compete against a squad where basically their core guys made the second round of the playoffs, that's says something. We don't want there to be any drop-off when we come in the game."
Woodson, who coached the Blue team which includes all five members of the starting unit, loved the back-and-forth of the scrimmage.
"Jamal kept the White team in the mix," he said. "And that's what I needed. I have to keep hammering this home to my guys: it doesn’t matter who plays. What matters is what you do with the minutes when you get in there. If you play two minutes, you better make it the best two minutes you play."
Crawford's addition gives the Hawks a dynamic scorer that rivals captain and All-Star Joe Johnson, which is rare considering that two scorers of that ilk would normally both be in the starting lineup.
"It's tough but it's a great thing for those guys to have to face off like this in practice," Woodson said. "[Rookie point guard Jeff] Teague can score, too. And he looked good today. You've got Mike Bibby, who has been fantastic in camp, Josh Smith, Marvin [Williams] and Al Horford that can all score the ball. You have a lot of weapons around the floor.
"That’s why the offense has to become contagious this season. If you've got it going, you've got it. But if not, you have to sacrifice and make sure to facilitate for the next man."
Smith sits out end of scrimmage
Smith sat out most of the scrimmage after tweaking his left ankle early on. He said it wasn’t anything serious and that he simply stayed off of it to be careful.
"I just had to get up out of there," Smith said. "It was super-competitive out there and I just didn’t want to take any chances messing around on it after I twisted it. It's fine, though."
Woodson said he expects Smith back on the practice floor Monday and ready for Wednesday's preseason home opener against New Orleans.
Morris making his move
With all the fuss being made about the free agents in camp, second-year big man Randolph Morris has played well without much fanfare.
He had his best day Sunday, working with the Blue team with Smith and Horford sitting out much of the action.
"I feel like all the hard work from the offseason has put me in a better position," Morris said. "You can't help but be in a better position when you work hard. I'm getting a very positive vibe so far."
Behind the scenes Tuesday
Hawks fans can get an inside look at training camp Tuesday by tuning into NBA TV's 2K Sports Real Training Camp special Tuesday at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
NBA TV's cameras will canvass the Hawks' practice facility for an all-access peak into what goes on in training camp, including interviews with players and coaches and live look-ins on the happenings from the practice court at 10 a.m. on NBA.com.
"I'm glad they're coming the second week," Woodson joked. "It would have some rough viewing had they showed up the first day."
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