Last weekend’s surprise defeat in Newcastle ended talk of the Blues going through the season unbeaten, allowing resurgent Manchester City to close the gap at the top of the Premier League. There were moments against Hull when it appeared this could be another bad day for Chelsea, but efforts from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa saw them triumph 2-0 against a side reduced to 10 men after a wild Tom Huddlestone challenge. Cahill became the fourth man to collect a yellow card after a late lunge which saw Aluko require treatment – epitomising a scrappy first half in which a blocked Costa effort was the best Chelsea could muster after pulling ahead. The hosts’ sloppy performance continued in the second half, with Livermore firing just wide from the edge of the box after some intricate passing. Mourinho’s side were creating few chances and perhaps that was behind Cahill’s apparent dive in the box. Hull had expected Foy to hand the centre-back a second booking, only to be incensed when the referee pointed for a goal-kick. The City players harangued the official, who was soon under pressure from Chelsea after Alex Bruce smashed through Willian. The substitute was only given a booking – the same punishment dished out to Costa for diving soon after, despite having clearly been caught by Huddlestone. One decision Foy definitely got right, though, was the red card meted out to the former Tottenham midfielder with 30 minutes remaining, after a late lunge on Filipe Luis. Shortly before becoming the latest player booked, Chester escaped calls for a penalty and Hazard struck a shot straight at Allan McGregor. It was 2-0 in the 68th minute when Hazard followed a long run by playing a lovely one-two with Branislav Ivanovic, before putting through Costa to turn home. Oscar and Cahill saw efforts blocked in quick succession, before Ivanovic fired over and a dangerous Willian cross evaded his team-mates. Substitute Andre Schurrle twice saw efforts blocked as the clock wound down. Jose Mourinho’s men edged their card-laden clash with Hull – but it was not one of the impressive, dominant displays Chelsea fans have become accustomed to. Press Association The struggling visitors could have no arguments with that decision, but referee Chris Foy is likely to come under scrutiny after handing out seven yellow cards in addition to that second-half red. There could have been more cards had the officials spotted John Obi Mikel’s stamp on Sone Aluko in the build-up to Hazard’s early header, while Hull’s players were furious that Gary Cahill did not receive a second booking for what appeared to be a dive. Chelsea struggled to create much without the suspended Cesc Fabregas but were given a helping hand when Huddlestone saw red, with Costa capitalising to end a four-game scoring drought in all competitions. In fairness to Hull, their performance belied that of a side without a league win in eight matches – and they did well to recover from a bad start. Less than seven minutes were on the clock when Chelsea controversially opened the scoring. A clumsy Mikel challenge on Aluko was missed and play continued, with the ball sprayed out wide to Oscar, whose cross was nodded home by Hazard. It was a bad start which soon got worse for Hull as injury forced Steve Bruce to bring on son Alex in place of the injured Michael Dawson. City responded fairly strongly considering those early blows, with Jake Livermore flashing a strike wide before Aluko missed the target in a move started by Mikel being dispossessed. David Meyler joined team-mate Huddlestone in the referee’s notebook after a comical attempt to hook a corner back into play with a hand, before Willian was booked for taking a tumble as play became stretched.
Crawford also recalled the wins and the losses and the near-misses, including their first-round playoff victory over the Golden State Warriors in 2013-14 and their second-round loss to the Houston Rockets in 2014-15, when they squandered a 3-1 series lead.“You have so many relationships that last a lifetime, not only players and coaches, but kids who you watched grow up,” Crawford said Wednesday before his new team played his old one. “Every time we won a game, all the kids would come in the locker room. It was really like a family atmosphere.“I think that’s one of the things you miss most.”Clippers coach Doc Rivers praised Crawford for his jump shots and passes and leadership during his 370 regular-season games in red, white and blue, but also credited him with helping to mold young players such as Austin Rivers into the players they have become today.“He just has a great knowledge of the game,” Doc Rivers said of the 37-year-old Crawford, named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year twice while with the Clippers. “He’s a great teacher. If I have one thing that I miss, I would say the one thing I miss most is not having him around.” LOS ANGELES — Jamal Crawford entered Staples Center via the same ramp he had for five seasons with the Clippers. He walked the same route to the locker room, said “hello” and “how are you doing?” to the same arena employees and team officials as in the past.This time, he said it felt “weird” to be back at a place he called home for more seasons and more games than he played anywhere else during his standout 17-year NBA career. He entered the visitor’s locker room instead of the home team’s, for one thing.Crawford made his first visit to Staples Center since he was traded in the offseason in an overhaul of the Clippers’ roster. The Clippers dealt him to the Atlanta Hawks, who bought him out of his contract. He then signed a two-season deal for about $9 million with the Minnesota Timberwolves.Related Articles Clippers rally but fade down the stretch against Timberwolves Memories flooded over Crawford on Wednesday. He thought about his first season with the Clippers in 2012-13, when they captured the imagination of the city as the Lakers’ dynasty started to fade. Lob City and a Tribe Called Bench were fresh and new. Crawford called his departure “shocking.” He was a key member of the group that lobbied Blake Griffin to remain with the Clippers when he could have signed elsewhere as a free agent last summer. Griffin re-signed with the Clippers, accepting a five-year, $173 million contract.“You know it’s a business and things can happen,” Crawford said. “To fall in love with something you have to be vulnerable. I fell in love with the city and the fans here, so I guess the shock of the trade hurt that much more because I really gave everything.”Crawford received a standing ovation after a video tribute of his time with the Clippers was played on the scoreboard.SIXTH MAN UPDATELou Williams went into Wednesday’s game averaging 17.5 points in a reserve role, second-best in the NBA at the start of business around the league. Memphis’ Tyreke Evans led the league with an average of 17.7 points going into Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks.Crawford, the man whose role Williams inherited after the Clippers acquired him last summer from the Houston Rockets, went into Wednesday averaging 9.1 points in a backup role with the Timberwolves. Crawford averaged 12.3 points last season.Crawford was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2009-10 with the Hawks and also in 2013-14 and 2015-16 while with the Clippers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error