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Rasual Butler works on his shooting

After making only three of 15 shots against the Timberwolves, the small forward stays after practice. He figures to start again Friday against the Warriors.

November 06, 2009|Lisa Dillman

The number 1, as in the number of Clippers wins, was lodged in Rasual Butler's mind, but so were some others from his performance Monday, such as his three-for-15 shooting from the field.

That's why he stayed after practice Thursday, going well into extra time. Butler worked on his shot long after his teammates had departed for lunch or other errands before their afternoon flight to the Bay Area for tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors.

"I was just a little disappointed in the way I shot the ball the other night," said Butler, who was also five for six from the free-throw line. "I got some good looks. Chris [Kaman] gave me some great passes in the clutch. I just want to be there for my teammates. . . .

"My teammates and coaches want me to make certain shots. I want to be able to do my job."

Production from the small forward position has been wanting for the Clippers at this early stage of the season. The incumbent at small forward, Al Thornton, was taken out of the starting lineup against Minnesota on Monday in favor of Butler.

Thornton played in 71 games last season, and started 67, averaging 16.8 points. Butler, with New Orleans, played in all 82 games and started 74, averaging 11.2 points.

Through the first five games this season, Thornton is averaging 8.2 points, and Butler 9.0.

It appears likely Butler will start again tonight against the Warriors because Thornton has been ill and missed practice Thursday, although he traveled with the team to the Bay Area.

Butler thought his tough shooting night might have been a byproduct of the hectic early schedule

"I felt all the shots were good, but they were short," he said. "That lets me know I need to put a little more legs [into it]. I don't want to make excuses, but we did play five games in seven nights. I don't like to make those type of excuses, but my legs were weary."

The bottom line was the Clippers' win against the Timberwolves -- certainly 1-4 has a different feel to it than 0-5.

"It's not as dark," Butler said of the team's mood. "You know in the back of your mind that things are going to be all right, but you're like, 'When is it going to turn around?'

"It's like taking that proverbial breath, 'Whew!' "

Turnover Dept.

Meanwhile, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy has another goal, trimming the number of turnovers. The Clippers had 20 against the Timberwolves.

"We've been careless at times on some of our entry passes, just decisions, even in transition. That's an area of concern," he said.

"There's some [improvement], but not enough. We still make some careless plays. You certainly want to be below 14. The really good teams are going to be better than that, but you want to be in the 13 area."


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