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Clippers' Caron Butler continues to be ineffective on offense

CLIPPERS FYI

The small forward misses all of his shots in the Clippers' 95-94 loss to Minnesota on Monday.

March 05, 2012|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Minneapolis -- The Clippers need Caron Butler's offense now more than ever.

But the small forward was ineffective Monday night in the Clippers' 95-94 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Butler missed all six of his shots and failed to score in 18 minutes 43 seconds.

He didn't play in the fourth quarter, when the Clippers mounted their charge.

"Part of that is my fault," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I played him too many minutes last night, maybe. But he's a pro and he'll bounce back."

Butler played 40:46 during the Clippers' 105-103 overtime victory over Houston on Sunday night.

He scored 14 points on four-for-12 shooting.

Bobby Simmons played the majority of the minutes against Minnesota.

Simmons played 28:58, and he scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Del Negro looking for consistency

Every day, every game, Del Negro has looked for improvements from his team.

He has seen some, but not enough.

It's easy to see why, considering the Clippers are 4-4 in their last eight games.

"We've been inconsistent as of late," Del Negro said. "We have to get more consistent on the defensive end for longer periods of time. And offensively, we have to try to get more easy baskets and try to play more of a tempo game to create opportunities for other guys."

The Clippers seem to get it done on offense.

They averaged 97.8 points per game before playing Minnesota on Monday night, good for the sixth-best offense in the NBA.

The Clippers have made some strides on defense, coming a long way from the time earlier in the season when they were in the bottom half of the league for points allowed.

The Clippers were giving up 95.6 points per game before the game against the Timberwolves, good for 16th in the NBA.

The Clippers are ranked 13th in shooting percentage, allowing opponents to make 43.9% of their shots.

But the Clippers are not doing so well protecting the three-point line, allowing teams to make 37.3% of their shots.

Minnesota made 39.3% of its three-pointers Monday night. Kevin Love was five for 10 from three-point range.

"We're still a work in progress," Del Negro said. "It's going to take some time. But the guys have been battling, playing hard, staying together."

Etc.

It wasn't an easy night for some of the Clippers.

Mo Williams has a high left thigh bruise from the game in Houston, but he played 31:45 and had 19 points.

Kenyon Martin played with a sore back, finishing with six points in 25:30. Ryan Gomes, who didn't play, had a head cold.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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