Time for Jae Crowder to lay off the three-pointers

Jae Crowder came to Boston in December as the least recognizable part of the three-player package the Celtics got in the Rajon Rondo trade. Since then, Jameer Nelson and Brandan Wright have both moved on and Crowder has become a fan favorite thanks to his relentless effort on the floor.

Since he joined the Celtics, Crowder has averaged 8.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1 steal in 21.9 minutes per game, all of which would be career highs over the course of an entire season. In Sunday's heartbreaking loss to the Warriors, he pulled down a career-best 17 boards, after recording only one other double-digit rebounding game in his first two NBA seasons.

With the Mavericks this year, Crowder scored 10 or more points three times, but he's done it in 14 games in Boston, including two 22-point performances. While he's shooting more than ever before, he's maintaining similar accuracy: 43.3 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, but is he becoming too trigger-happy, especially with three-pointers?

During their recent three-game winning streak, the C's were outstanding with their outside shooting, and Crowder was no exception, going a combined 11-for-22. But he came crashing back down to earth on Sunday with a 1-for-7 performance, and he was just 6-for-24 in his first eight February games. He's taken at least five threes in each of his last five games, after doing that just twice since the trade.

Crowder's biggest assets are his hustle and his physical strength, which make him a solid defender and rebounder even when matched up against taller small forwards. He can even cover the power forward position when Brad Stevens goes to a three-guard lineup. The Celtics have a backcourt full of three-point shooters, not to mention Jonas Jerebko, who's 8-for-11 from deep since he entered the rotation.

Boston simply doesn't need Crowder to shoot as many threes as he's been taking lately. If he can stick to doing the dirty work that has made him popular with Celtics fans, attacking the rim and shooting only when he's left wide open outside, Crowder can ensure his place in the Celtics' rotation well beyond this season.

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Image credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa