Dallas • Maybe the thought flashed again through Rick Carlisle’s head as he watched Jae Crowder hit a halftime buzzer beater from 18 feet.
The Dallas Mavericks’ coach always though Crowder was a good midrange shooter. He’s thought that since the Mavericks selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft. But that’s not what has helped the sixth-year forward survive in the NBA after coming out of Marquette.
“He just finds ways to win, finds ways to impact the game, little things, nuanced things,” Carlisle said. “He’s an adapter. Any situation you put him in, he’ll find a way to thrive.”
As the 34th overall pick, not all that much was expected of Crowder when he arrived in Dallas, but he did carve out a role with the Mavericks, making 24 starts in 181 games there before he was traded to Boston, where his career began to flourish.
Now with the Jazz after a midseason trade from Cleveland, Crowder has been an effective bench scorer and tenacious defender in Utah, where he said he’s found a natural fit. His old Dallas coach seemed at least a little forlorn that the Mavericks gave him away. Given that the trade was an ill-fated one for Rajon Rondo, maybe hindsight has made it sting all the more.
“He did a great job for us — it was a big loss having to trade him,” Carlisle said. “I followed his career closely because he was a guy I became close with for two or three years. Played a lot, developed a lot. I worked with him personally a lot.”
Mitchell meets with Jazz legends
Immediately after Tuesday’s home game, Donovan Mitchell said he hadn’t yet seen Karl Malone and John Stockton. But it was soon fixed.
Former Jazz center Mark Eaton later tweeted out a picture of Mitchell standing among Jazz royalty: Eaton, Malone, Stockton and Jerry Sloan. It was the first time Utah’s rookie had met the most famous duo in Jazz history, and they told him they enjoyed watching him play. It was humbling, Mitchell said.
“There was a lot of great history with those guys in one picture. It was awesome to be a part of that,’ he said. “Obviously coming in, you know about the history, you know about the street and the statues. But to be able to meet those guys for the first time — I’ve met Mark and Coach Sloan before — but meeting Karl and John was special.”
Derrick Favors returned to the starting lineup after a one-game absence due to knee soreness. … Raul Neto (wrist fracture) traveled with the team despite his injury, which is to be evaluated next Monday.