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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers want to push back against Grizzlies

Forward Reggie Evans thinks the Clippers were pushed around by a physically imposing Memphis team in Game 2 of the best-of-seven playoff series. The series shifts to L.A. for Game 3 on Saturday.

May 04, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers forward Reggie Evans says the Clippers were outmatched physically by the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 2 of their playoff series.
Clippers forward Reggie Evans says the Clippers were outmatched physically… (Andy Lyons / Getty Images )

If the Clippers were "punked around" in Game 2 by Memphis, as forward Reggie Evans said after practice Friday, then the fact that Los Angeles hasn't ruled out the idea of having a player nicknamed "Tuff Juice" return could only help the team stand its ground.

Yes, Caron Butler still has a broken left hand that he suffered in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoff series against the Grizzlies that sidelined him for Game 2 on Wednesday night.

But, no, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said, it's not a definite that Butler won't play in Game 3 on Saturday at Staples Center in a best-of-seven series that's tied at 1-1.

The diagnosis Butler was given was that the small forward would be out four to six weeks recovering from the injury, putting his return in late May at the earliest.

But Butler saw a hand specialist Thursday and participated in the Clippers' practice Friday, doing some shooting with a brace on his left hand.

"We got a good report yesterday, about as good as you can expect," Del Negro said. "He went through some things today, took some shots, went through some stuff. But we'll see how he feels tomorrow. Caron is a tough guy. He's a battler. He wants to be out there, but we also want to be smart about it. So I'll evaluate that tomorrow."

In Game 2, Bobby Simmons started in place of Butler and Nick Young came in off the bench.

Before Friday's practice, the Clippers watched some film from Game 2 and it showed that "we kind of got punked around," Evans said.

"They did a good job of being physical and it showed," Evans said about Memphis. "You know the tape don't lie. So now we just learned from that."

So, Evans was asked, will the Clippers try to punk the Grizzlies?

"I'm not going to necessarily say punk them around," Evans said. "You know, from a physical standpoint — OK, maybe pushed around, that's much better.

"That goes for all of us, including myself, too. That don't point no single person out. That go for myself. We're a team. You can say I got punked around a couple of times. They got 16 offensive rebounds. What's that a sign of? We got pushed around, punked around. That's what that was a sign of. So we've just got to bounce back."

With Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Marreese Speights, Memphis has a physically imposing team.

That trio accounted for eight of Memphis' offensive rebounds.

"Yeah, we've got to get more physical," Clippers point guard Chris Paul said. "We've got to figure out a way to get to the free-throw line more and cut down on theirs. We came out aggressive, but I don't think we sustained it for 48 minutes. So hopefully we can do that at home."

Del Negro said guard Mo Williams (bruised right forearm) didn't do anything at practice Friday, but was feeling better and will be evaluated Saturday before the game.

Del Negro said Young (sprained right thumb) and guard Eric Bledsoe (bruised left elbow) both were fine and they did practice Friday.

"For us, it's all about this Game 3," Paul said. "Game 3 puts us back in the driver's seat. In the playoffs, it's all about controlling your home court. We went there and got one and now we've got to take care of our home court."

And it has become apparent the Clippers want to protect home court in Games 3 and 4 (Monday night at home) by not getting punked anymore.

"It's just like a kid getting bullied all the time," Evans said. "Eventually that kid is either going to run or eventually he's going to fight right back."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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