Utah rookie Trey Burke continues to play well despite a number of nagging injuries. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the NBA's Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December is still recovering from his broken finger that sidelined him for the season's first several weeks while also nursing a sore ankle.
The Jazz are 3-2 in their last five games. Burke scored 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting and added five assists. He struggled with his shot in the following three games, going 3-for-9 for 11 points in a 96-87 win over Milwaukee, 3-for-15 for six in a 110-99 loss at Los Angeles (Lakers) and 4-for-12 for 10 with six assists in a 112-101 win over Oklahoma City before rebounding with a 7-for-15, 17-point, six-assist game in a 113-102 loss to Cleveland Jan. 10.
"It's really tough," Burke said of point guard life in the NBA. "You can't take any nights off. With 82 games a season, back-to-backs, you're on the road as much as we are, we have to take care of our bodies. And sometimes, even if you do take care of your body, you have those nagging injuries or sometimes those severe injuries. It's just the name of the game."
Burke is averaging 30.6 minutes a night, having played in 25 games. He played 39 all last year at Michigan.
"College, you play a lot of games and you travel, but it's kind of times two at this level," he said. "Especially as a rookie, you have to get adjusted to that. With me playing the amount of minutes I'm playing right now, I just have to take care of my body and try to maintain."
Rookie Tim Hardway Jr., meanwhile, has struggled a bit in recent weeks, though he did have one ESPN SportsCenter top 10 highlight: the dunk below in a win over the Miami Heat.
Hardaway is averaging 8.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game and was very good in December, averaging 11.7 points and two, three-pointers in just 24 minutes per game. He's shot only 38 percent in January, however, and scored in single digits in five of six games with only two assists total.
Hardaway's best game came Jan. 5 when he scored 10 points and grabbed two rebounds in a 92-80 win over Dallas.
Finally, Jamal Crawford is back on the bench after a short stint in the starting lineup, but he told the Los Angeles Times he was comfortable in his role.
Crawford had become the starting shooting guard while J.J. Redick recovered from a broken right wrist and torn ligaments on the right side of his wrist.
"For me, I'm a team player," Crawford said. "I've been the sixth man and I'm comfortable in that position. I've been a starter, too, so I'm comfortable either way."
The Clippers went 10-4 in the games Crawford started, during which he averaged 18.5 points per game as a starter. He averages 30.6 minutes and 16.7 points per game, third best on the team, is making 40.4 percent of his shots, 34.7 percent of his three-pointer and averaging 2.8 assists per game, third best on the team.
"Backup two-guard, backup point guard coming off the bench. That's fine," Crawford said. "I'm just a basketball player."