Caron Butler


LOS ANGELES – Caron Butler made his first 3-pointer with 8:19 left in the first quarter of Monday night’s 105-98 loss to the Hornets and went into halftime just 2-for-4 from distance.

It hardly made a blip on the box score, aside from the fact that the veteran small forward who had struggled from the field for the last week as he nursed a strained right shoulder seemed to be shooting his way out of it. But Butler went bonkers in the third, making all but two of the shots he put up and setting records and career highs from 3-point range in the process.

Butler’s nine 3-point makes for the game was the most in Clippers franchise history. The previous record of eight was set by Quentin Richardson and matched last season by Randy Foye in a game against the Mavericks on April 2. Butler’s 15 attempts tied the franchise mark. His 6-for-8 performance in the third quarter, which helped the Clippers tie the game at 68, also set team records for makes and attempts in a single quarter.

“It felt good,” said Butler, who finished with 33 points, the most he’s scored in a game since 2009 when he was a member of the Wizards. “The [guards] were doing a great job of when they were getting blitzed on the screen, throwing the ball back and finding me in rhythm and with guys closing out a little late, I was just knocking down shots.”

Hornets head coach Monty Williams referred to Butler’s shooting display as “amazing.” And for the most part it was. On a night when the Clippers set a new franchise record for made 3-poitners as a team (18), their small forward made half of them. He was hitting from the wings and both corners, including drilling one from in front of the New Orleans bench that also drew a foul.

When asked what helped him get out of a slump that saw him make just four of his last 15 shots and one of his last six 3-pointers, Butler said it was partly due to an improvement in his ailing shoulder. “My shoulder was feeling a lot better,” he said. “I probably came back a game or two too soon, but we were losing and I wanted to be out there playing.”

Butler injured his shoulder against Chicago on Nov. 17, played 9 minutes in San Antonio two days later and sat out on game two of the road trip at Oklahoma City. Prior to the Bulls game, though, he was 14-for-26 from 3-point range in seven games between Nov. 2 and Nov. 11. At that time, Butler remarked that he “loved” the open looks he was getting within the flow of the offense. On Monday night he said he hoped it would carryover.

“I’ve just got to keep shooting the ball and not thinking about it. I’m pretty sure guys are going to make an adjustment and more opportunities will be there.”

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