DEL NEGRO TO REST GRIFFIN, GREEN & BUTLER SATURDAY
SALT LAKE CITY–Starters Blake Griffin, Willie Green and Caron Butler will not play Saturday night as the Clippers take on the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena in their fifth game of the preseason.
Head Coach Vinny Del Negro said, “It’s an opportunity for guy that have had some bruises and had some surgeries and whatever to take advantage of the schedule right now. We’ve had a pretty busy [schedule]. There was Vegas and the China trip and then coming back and games. A couple guys have been out so some guys have played a few more minutes in preseason.”
Griffin, Butler and Green have appeared in the four previous games, including a pair of outings in China last week. Griffin is shooting 49.1% from the field, averaging 15.3 points (second on the team), 7.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists over 26 minutes.
Butler, who is entering his second season as the Clippers’ small forward, is scoring 10.5 points per game and has been one of the team’s hottest shooters. In 20.8 minutes, Butler has connected on 50% of his shots from 3-point range (5-of-10) and 51.4% of his shots from the field overall.
Additionally, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill, who did not play Wednesday will continue to rest as the Clippers build toward the regular season which opens on Oct. 31
Asked what the team can get out of a game with five rotation players, three of which are starters sitting out, Del Negro said, “Chris [Paul] wants to get in game shape and it’s another opportunity for DeAndre [Jordan] to improve and the chemistry to build. We’ll mix different lineups tonight.”
Matt Barnes, Travis Leslie, and Ronny Turiaf will start alongside regulars Paul and Jordan for the Clippers (2-2). Just six players are expected to be available on the bench as Chauncey Billups remains out while he rehabilitates from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon and Trey Thompkins (bone bruise in his knee) did not make the trip.
“It’s an opportunity for all the guys,” Del Negro said. “The other guys that have been working hard will get a chance to get a look.”