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updated: 12/11/2012 10:36 PM

Clippers guard Crawford wanted to play for Del Negro

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  • Vinny Del Negro was a big reason why Jamal Crawford wanted to play for the Clippers. "I've had more fun playing for him than I've had my whole NBA career," Crawford said. "He trusts me on offense."

      Vinny Del Negro was a big reason why Jamal Crawford wanted to play for the Clippers. "I've had more fun playing for him than I've had my whole NBA career," Crawford said. "He trusts me on offense."
    Associated Press

 
 

Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford and his coach, Vinny Del Negro, are a couple guys who have seen better success since leaving Chicago.

Crawford is already in contention to win the second Sixth Man Award of his NBA career, averaging 17.9 points heading into Tuesday's late game at the United Center.

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Del Negro is in his third season with the Clippers, which is longer than he lasted with the Bulls, despite making the playoffs twice.

"(Del Negro) was one of the reasons I wanted to come to the Clippers, honestly," Crawford said before the game. "He was a scorer. He fits perfectly. I've had more fun playing for him than I've had my whole NBA career. He trusts me on offense.

"I'm going to make mistakes, obviously, but he was a scorer so he knows how it is. We have a great relationship. I'm a big fan of his."

Crawford said he worked harder on his jump shot over the summer because shooting .384 last season in Portland left such a bad taste in his mouth. It was his lowest percentage since his rookie year with the Bulls. Needless to say, things are working out in L.A.

"It's cool to be on a really good team that's kind of under the radar," he said. "All the stuff with the Lakers, all the attention they get. So it's cool. You're still in a great city. You still win. People come out and support, but you don't have to deal with everything. So it's been a good fit."

Hinrich returns to lineup:

Kirk Hinrich was back in the starting lineup against the Clippers after sitting out the second half of Saturday's win over New York with a hyperextended left elbow.

He gave way to Nate Robinson a little sooner than usual in the first quarter, but Hinrich played 14 minutes in the first half and had a fairly successful defensive effort against Clippers guard Chris Paul.

"It says a lot about his toughness," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Kirk's one of those guys, I don't measure him statistically. I measure him by how he's running the team, how he's leading our defense. He's played well all season long."

Paul believes in Marco:

Marco Belinelli heated up in the Bulls' previous three games. He had the best 3-point shooting percentage of his NBA career (.414), though, while playing with Chris Paul in New Orleans during the 2010-11 season.

"He's one of the best shooters you'll ever see," Paul told reporters at the Clippers shootaround, according to bulls.com. "The thing is, Beli can shoot off the move, he can shoot standstill. So a lot of times, it's confidence and rhythm with him. Early in the season, a lot of the shots he normally makes he missed. So I'm not surprised to see him on a roll."

Bull horns:

Bulls legend Scottie Pippen will make a special appearance at the Goodman Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol" on Friday. Pippen will join Make-A-Wish beneficiary La'Ren Kimble onstage. Clippers star Blake Griffin knocked down his first 3-point basket of the season in the second quarter. He has 10 for his career. Over the previous eight games, the Bulls gave up 87.4 points per game and allowed opponents to shoot 40.3 percent from the field.

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