SAN FRANCISCO – Allen Crabbe has a Game 2 guarantee.
After a nondescript 22-minute performance in Game 1, during which he had three points on 1-for-5 shooting, the Trail Blazers’ wing says he will be more aggressive and be more of a factor in Wednesday’s Game 2 against Golden State.
“I understand how important it is for me to come off the bench and bring something to the table,’’ Crabbe said. “Game 2 for me, I know is definitely not going to be like Game 1. I can guarantee that.’’
One of the lingering questions out of the Trail Blazers’ 121-109 loss to Golden State in Game 1 was who could provide some production outside of Blazers’ stars CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard.
Crabbe, who in the regular season was the Blazers’ fourth leading scorer behind Lillard, McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, believes that production could come from him.
He says the game plan doesn’t need to change, and coach Terry Stotts doesn’t need to call plays differently. He says it all starts with his mindset.
“It’s me,’’ Crabbe said. “I have to take things into my own hands and be aggressive and go get shots.’’
If you feel like you’ve heard or read this from Crabbe before, you are right.
Much of this season, Crabbe has been battling consistency, a problem that for him is rooted in his aggression. When he shoots, he is productive. When he doesn’t, he becomes anonymous.
The value of an aggressive Crabbe has become obvious this season. When he shoots 10 or more shots, the Blazers are 18-9 (.667 winning percentage). When he scores in double figures they are 25-16 (.609 winning percentage).
“I know a lot of people are saying, like, ‘You scored this one night, then you go back to scoring this’… well, I feel like it’s me being just having to be in tune with the game and not feeling out the game,’’ Crabbe said.
Crabbe said that Blazers captain Damian Lillard in Game 1 was again in his ear, both on the court and from the sideline. Throughout the season, Lillard has repeatedly told the media that he tells Crabbe to shoot it every time he touches the ball.
“During Game 1, he was like ‘Shoot the ball’ and even when he was on the bench, he was telling me ‘be aggressive, be aggressive,’’’ Crabbe said. “He tells me when I’m aggressive like that it helps the team more and it helps him. And I know I can’t just be out there on the court and not doing anything.’’
Crabbe says he can’t make the mistake of letting the game come to him.
“I can’t wait for certain moments to be aggressive,’’ Crabbe said. “I have to come out and when I step on the floor look for ways to put some points up.’’
He said maybe that means instead of waiting in the corner for a three he goes and sets a pick instead of the power forward or center. Or maybe he cuts to the basket more often and tries to get an easy score.
“I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to feel out a game. I just have to go in with the mindset of getting them up early. The more and more I get the shots up, the more I will be able to produce,’’ Crabbe said.
Stotts on Tuesday was quick to defend Crabbe, noting that it was his first action in 10 days after missing the Blazers’ final three regular season games resting his sore left foot.
“We need him, that’s obvious,’’ Stotts said. “But just because he had one rusty game coming back off injury is a little early for that narrative, to be honest. But yeah, he’s a big part of what we need.’’
In Game 1, McCollum had 41 points and Lillard 34. But the rest of the Blazers went 12-for-39 from the field.
Stotts said the key will be getting production not just out of Crabbe, but also Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless. Aminu went 0-for-5 and Harkless 5-for-13.
Last season, Crabbe had a slow start in the playoffs. In the first three games against the Clippers he went for six points, zero points and zero points before going 5-for-5 in Game 4. After that, his last eight playoff games he went 36-of-61 from the field (59 percent) and 15-for-30 from 3-point range.
Whether his mental reset for Game 2 sparks a change figures to be central to the Blazers’ chances of scoring an upset.
“I’m pretty sure for Game 2 there will be a different story,’’ Crabbe said.