Crawford carries Tasmania to first title

A SCORING masterclass from Jordan Crawford helped deliver the Tasmania JackJumpers to their maiden National Basketball League (NBL) championship, defeating Melbourne United by two points on Sunday afternoon.

The JackJumpers travelled to Melbourne to take on United at John Cain Arena in a fifth and final game of the 2024 NBL Championship Series, with proceedings tied at two games apiece. Tasmania had the opportunity to win it all on Thursday, but United came up clutch at MyState Bank Arena and forced another game.

Although Melbourne looked in control for large parts of the match, including early in the fourth quarter when it led by nine points, the JackJumpers produced a typically resilient performance when it mattered most, rallying late to silence the crowd and claim their first-ever trophy after just three seasons in the NBL.

If not for Crawford’s performance in the first half, Tasmania would not have been within striking distance at the half.

Melbourne United (81) def. by Tasmania JackJumpers (83)

Jordon Crawford – 32 points, six rebounds, one assist

In one of the great scoring performances, Crawford put the JackJumpers on his back in the first half, keeping his side in the contest with a massive outing, before knocking down some timely shots in the final term.

Crawford remarkably delivered 19 points in the first quarter alone, on his way to 27 at the main break. The remainder of the JackJumpers playing group struggled to find the bottom of the net, and he was the only one that could consistently score.

Having endured a tough form slump for the majority of the finals, the guard got going early, producing Tasmania’s first basket of the match with a nice driving layup.

The first period belonged to Crawford, who did as he pleased with ball in hand, receiving not as much defensive attention as he was warranting. The focus was seemingly still on keeping the ball out of Milton Doyle‘s hands and Crawford made them pay, knocking down shot after shot.

His highlight came in the form of a four-point play, crossing up Shea Ili to create space, splashing home the triple after being knocked down and drawing the foul, giving the JackJumpers a spark in a tough opening period.

Although he slowed down as the game went on (which is expected given his ridiculous output in the first half), Crawford still had some big moments. He hit a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter, bringing the margin back to three points after initially being down nine, and his first half was integral in Tassie clinching the decider.

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