Now that his sizzling scoring has helped put the Hawks on the verge of advancing past the Magic into the Eastern Conference semifinals, the praise is flowing for Jamal Crawford.

But Crawford remembers the tags critics not so long ago used to hang on him.

He was a scorer but needed a lot of shots to get his points. He put up big numbers but he did so while playing for bad teams. His one-on-one style was good for highlights, bad for winning.

"There have been lots of knocks," Crawford said before the Hawks left Monday for Orlando with a 3-1 series lead.

Most of those criticisms fell by the wayside last season, when Crawford joined the Hawks via trade and had the most efficient scoring season of his career. Atlanta won 53 games and Crawford was voted the NBA's Sixth Man Award.

He further bolstered his credentials last spring when he was Atlanta's most consistent scorer in his first postseason appearance. That hardly gained notice, though, because the Hawks wheezed past Milwaukee in the first round before getting summarily swept by Orlando.

Now Crawford is doing it again and more people are taking notice, especially Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.

Van Gundy has watched Crawford score more than 20 points in all four games of the first-round series. And after each game, Van Gundy has lamented that Crawford's skills present a confounding problem for his defenders.