“I think that Grant Hill sitting on the bench the whole time, he came in and provided a great presence out there on Melo. I don’t think we win that game without him,” Crawford said.
‘Melo was on fire. He torched every defender and dispelled every scheme the Clippers threw at him, setting his sights on his career-high of 50. That is, until Hill asserted himself, holding him to just two shots and four points in the fourth quarter.
Being credited as a big role in Sunday’s win is a nice momento for Hill, who has battled all season to return from injury (again) in an attempt to make one last run at the NBA championship that’s eluded him for 18 years. While visiting his former team, the Orlando Magic, earlier this week, Hill gave all indications in a revealing interview with the Orland Sentinel that this season may be his last.
As Hill entered the game at the Amway Center later that night, he was booed by his former fans in a classless manner, obviously still bitter at the result of his seven-year campaign that saw him miss 374 out of a possible 574 games with the Magic.
Nobody feels worse about that result than Hill, though. He offered to take a significant pay cut to remain with the team, but the Magic declined. And as Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports noted afterwards, what Magic fans fail to realize is that Hill was always injured because Hill was always trying to return, at times too fast and under pressure, to show the fans that his expensive contract wasn’t just money down the drain.
Which might be exactly why Hill, who’s just one day short of being the oldest player in the NBA, is working to get everything he can out of those old legs today.
Now go ice those knees, young fella.
Ben Baroff is an aspiring sports journalist and marketing professional who blogs and writes columns for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.