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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers need to stick together and play smart, Caron Butler says

After losing four games in a row, the team's veterans know they've got to weather the storm and stay focused, the forward says.

November 27, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Forward Caron Butler battles against the New Orleans Hornets during a game Monday night in which he set a Clippers record with nine three pointers during the team's loss to the Hornets, 105-98.
Forward Caron Butler battles against the New Orleans Hornets during a game… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

This is not the time for the Clippers to become a fractured group, Caron Butler said after practice Tuesday.

Rather, he said, this is the time for the Clippers to remain united while they deal with a four-game losing streak.

Butler did say all the losing "obviously is frustrating."

"But having the veteran guys that we have in this locker room — myself, Chauncey [Billups], Chris [Paul] — guys know that you've got to weather the storm and stay together, stay whole and not have mental lapses," Butler said.

"A lot of people say, 'Go harder, harder, harder, harder.' But you have to put smarter in there too. Go smarter, go harder and execute and make some adjustments, and we're going to do that."

During the losing streak, the Clippers allowed more than 100 points in three of the four losses and allowed two opponents to shoot over 50%, a sign of poor defense.

And the Clippers scored more than 100 points in just one of those losses, a sign that their offense has stopped clicking.

They also turned over the ball 20 times in one game and 15 times in each of the other three games, a sign they weren't taking care of the basketball.

Butler said the Clippers need to start having fun again, to get "some lobs, getting 'Lob City' back in full effect.

"We need everybody pulling for one another," Butler said.

The Clippers have lost two games at home to teams with records under .500 — Cleveland and New Orleans — and to another team, Golden State, that didn't make the playoffs last season.

To Butler, it has become clear the Clippers have to stay ready no matter who their opponent is.

"Being a team that has been praised early, you are a team with a huge bulls-eye on your back now," Butler said. "So we've just got to be prepared night in and night out. And I think going through this adversity now helps us a lot."

Waiting for Billups

Butler has seen Billups in practice sessions while the veteran guard continues his rehabilitation after surgery to repair a torn left Achilles' tendon.

Billups "looks great," Butler said.

The 36-year-old Billups last played in a game Feb. 6.

But the Clippers still haven't said whether Billups will play Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center, or against the Sacramento Kings at home Saturday, or even next week.

"He looks good to me," Butler said. "So we'll see him out there soon."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

broderick.turner@latimes.com

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