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Willie Green finds his rhythm against Lakers

The banged-up shooting guard scores 10 points after doing some extra practice.

January 05, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers guard Willie Green, right, shown playing against Utah's Al Jefferson, has been playing with a slight meniscus tear in his right knee for some time and might have surgery during the off-season.
Clippers guard Willie Green, right, shown playing against Utah's… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

His shot had betrayed him and his injured body wasn't helping matters.

But Willie Green had decided that he wasn't going to give in to either bad situation.

Instead, Green went to the Clippers' practice facility on an off day from practice and rehabilitated his injured knee some more and then got in some extra work.

The payoff was how Green played for the Clippers during their victory over the Lakers on Friday night.

Green had 10 points, making four of six shots.

"I got my rhythm going," Green said. "When you have an injury, it can keep you from doing stuff that you do to prepare for the game."

Green has been playing with a slight meniscus tear in his right knee for some time, meaning that he might have surgery during the off-season, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said.

In the previous two games, Green couldn't make a shot.

He was three for 19 overall, one for 10 from three-point range, in losses to the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, whom the Clippers played Saturday night at Staples Center. The game ended after this edition went to press.

"I don't think it was my knee," Green said. "I think it was just a rhythm thing. And really what it is is not having the opportunity to practice like I want to and get the reps going."

So rather than take Thursday off after back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Green said he went to the team's facility to work on his game, to get some shots.

He played some one-on-one and some three-on-three with Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill, Ryan Hollins, a couple of the assistant coaches and some of the team's training staff.

"Willie is a pro," Del Negro said. "He gives you whatever he can. I thought he did a very good job [against the Lakers]. He hit some very big shots. He's a team-first guy. He's the kind of guy that you want to root for."

That's why Green's teammates were happy with the way he responded against the Lakers.

He made a three-pointer in the third quarter to push the Clippers' lead back up to eight points and he made a jumper to extend the lead to 12 points.

"For me, I'm a repetition guy. I like to get in the gym and continue to work," Green said. "And I haven't been able to do that as much as I would have liked to this season. So, once I got in the gym [on Thursday] and got the rhythm going, I can go out in the game and that will translate."

Green is the starting shooting guard until Chauncey Billups returns from tendinitis in his foot. He is averaging 6.1 points on 43% shooting, 38.5% on three-pointers.

"I have an understanding that when a guy is playing 35 to 40 minutes, he has time to make mistakes and get it back," Green said. "He knows that, 'I'm going to get the ball again.' But when you're playing a certain amount of minutes, you've got to be precise. So, that's where the practicing, that's where getting up the extra shots helps out so much."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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