PRACTICE REPORT: BUTLER WILL BE GAME-TIME DECISION
OKLAHOMA CITY –Small forward Caron Butler left Monday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs 9 minutes into the game with a sprained right shoulder.
At the conclusion of the Clippers’ practice Tuesday morning at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the second stop on the team’s four-game road trip, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro said Butler will be a game-time decision for the following day’s game against the defending Western Conference champion Thunder.
“We’ll see in the morning, see how he feels,” Del Negro said.
Butler, who is averaging 9.4 points and shooting 50% from 3-point range, injured the shoulder in Saturday evening’s victory over Chicago, but tried to play through it two days later.
“He’s sore,” Del Negro said. “He battled through it last night the best he could and he’s trying to work through it. He’ll be fine. He’s tough.”
Del Negro has not decided who would start in place of Butler, but the most likely candidate is forward Matt Barnes. In 35 minutes off the bench Monday, Barnes scored 14 points and had nine rebounds.
GRIFFIN COMES HOME
Blake Griffin is home again. The Oklahoma City native will play his fifth time career game in his home state Wednesday. In the previous four outings he’s averaged 21.5 points, 10.25 rebounds and six assists, including arguably one of the best road performances of his career in April 2011 when he put in 35 points on 15-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds and six assists.
“To come home and play in front of friends and family is great,” Griffin said. “But it’s business and we need a win, so it’s great to see them but we’ve got to take care of business.”
Griffin attended Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond, a suburban town located about 14 miles north of Oklahoma’s capital, before spending two seasons at the University of Oklahoma.
Prior to departing on the Clippers’ road trip, Griffin said the novelty of coming home has started to wear off.
“The first time we went back was special for me and also somewhat sad,” Griffin said, referring to his emotional return shortly after the death of his friend and high school teammate Wilson Holloway. “It was right after the All-Star break my rookie year. But now we’ve played there [four] times, it’s a little bit different.”
HOW MANY DUNKS FOR PAUL?
One of the highlights of Monday’s win in San Antonio was a breakaway dunk by Chris Paul late in the third quarter off a steal by Barnes.
After the game, Paul asked springy center DeAndre Jordan, who is third in the NBA in dunks, if he should be credited with two dunks on the season.
Jordan said it is closer to one and a half.
Against Chicago Paul had similar right-handed slam off a theft of Kirk Hinrich, but Jordan wasn’t so sure. “You laid it in and touched the rim on the way down,” Jordan yelled across the locker room to Paul.
At practice Griffin, the one-time Slam Dunk champion, gave his assessment of Paul’s dunk in San Antonio.
“It’s just kind of one of those things that gets us going,” Griffin said. “He doesn’t dunk much, but I’ll give him credit that was a nice one. It surprised me. I was taken back a little bit.”