Clippers forward Caron Butler drives to the basket against Nets center… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )
NEW YORK — Clippers small forward Caron Butler, who missed the game at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night with a strained right shoulder, started Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets.
Butler played 32 minutes 13 seconds and had seven points on three-for-nine shooting.
"I'm still a little sore," Butler said after the game. "But I had some good looks. I just missed them."
Green to stay ready
There soon will come a time when Willie Green will go from starting at the shooting guard position for the Clippers to being the fifth guard.
It could happen as soon as Monday or Wednesday or the beginning of December when Chauncey Billups (left Achilles' tendon surgery) returns from his injury and becomes the starter.
Green, a nine-year veteran, said he'll stay ready no matter the circumstances.
"More so for me — and this is for me personally — it's my spiritual maturity of understanding that certain things you just don't have control over," Green said. "The things that you don't have control over, I try not to worry about it. Yeah, it's tough sometimes if you have to sit on the bench. But that hasn't happened yet."
Green said they all will be "excited for Chauncey" to return.
With Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe as the first two guards off the bench, Green could see his time dwindle.
"I'm a firm believer that even with Chauncey or whomever is on this team, I'm going to find a way to carve out some minutes here and there and help this team win games," Green said. "That's the most important thing.
"It's not whether I'm playing or this person is playing. It's making sure that we all are collectively doing our jobs so that we can win games and we can be in a position to accomplish something at the end of the season."
Minutes hard to come by
Yes, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said, "certain guys deserve more minutes" on a team that has so "few" to offer because of the quality of depth the team has.
Del Negro said it's about the success of the team and not individual goals, something he has stressed and hopes his players buy into.
Chris Paul leads the team in minutes played, averaging just 33.8 per game, and Blake Griffin is second at 32.8. No one else averages over 30 minutes, but everyone is averaging double figures in minutes played except for Ronny Turiaf (9.5).
"Do guys get irritated and do they want to play more? Of course," Del Negro said. "They're competitive and they all feel they can help. But I'm managing that. At times it's easy and sometimes it makes it hard when you have certain rotations that you want to play.... But you have to do what's best for the big picture."