Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford, defending Francisco Garcia of the Houston Rockets, has been praised by Clippers Coach Doc Rivers for his defensive play. ( Harry How / Getty Images)

The Clippers aren’t asking Jamal Crawford to be a lock-down defender.

But Clippers Coach Doc Rivers is asking Crawford to be a good team defender and to be in the right spots on defense.

“Jamal has been terrific in doing that for us,” Rivers said.

Crawford, a 6-5 shooting guard, is known for his offense, for breaking down defenders with his  cross-over dribble.

But Crawford has become more conscientious of playing good defense.

“I think it’s just really, really taking pride in it,” Crawford said. “Obviously Doc’s teams are not just a man defense. It’s help defense. It’s being aware. It’s covering for your teammates.”

Crawford will be tested on defense when the Clippers play the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat on Thursday night. Crawford could at times find himself defending Dwyane Wade or Ray Allen.

The idea, Crawford said, is to always play team defense.

“You’ve got to have that trust,” he said. “Doc and his staff has really instilled that in me and I take pride in that. I think I’m a better defender than I’ve ever been.”

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