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Clippers hammer Pistons, 129-97, but Caron Butler is hurt

The starting forward suffers a bruised left elbow late in the third quarter and doesn't return. Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro says Butler will have an MRI exam on Monday.

March 10, 2013|By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times

In the midst of the Clippers' 129-97 runaway victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday came the news that Caron Butler suffered a bruised left elbow.

It was all going so well for the Clippers too, because they had seven players score in double figures, including all five starters.

Even Butler had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists before he grabbed his elbow in pain at Staples Center. Butler went to the locker room with 3 minutes 58 seconds left in the third quarter and didn't return.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Butler received an X-ray during the game that revealed the bruise. Del Negro said Butler will get an MRI exam Monday.

"He's in some pain right now, so hopefully we get some good news tomorrow," Del Negro said. "He's not feeling very good right now with his elbow, so we'll have to see where it's at tomorrow."

The Clippers already were playing without backup guards Jamal Crawford (sore left ankle) and Eric Bledsoe (injured left calf).

But on a night when every Clipper who played scored and the team had a season high in points and shooting percentage (62.5%), it didn't seem to matter who was missing against the Pistons.

It didn't matter on a night when the 70 points the Clippers scored in the first half were a season high and the 64.3% shooting was a season high for a half.

It didn't matter when the Clippers built a lead of as many as 34 points.

"It was a good win," said Blake Griffin, who had 22 points on nine-for-12 shooting and eight rebounds. "But besides the margin, it was the way we played from the beginning, something we talked about the past couple of days in practice. It was turning up the intensity and getting back to being aggressive, especially defensively."

Chris Paul had 20 points on nine-for-12 shooting and 14 assists.

Chauncey Billups 10 points and six assists.

Center DeAndre Jordan had 13 points, seven rebounds and the play of the game.

The 6-11, 265-pound Jordan grabbed Paul's lob pass and threw down a ferocious dunk over the 6-3, 189-pound Brandon Knight.

All the force of Jordan flattened Knight, knocking the slight guard to the court and on his back with a thud.

"Chris told me to keep running to the basket," Jordan said. "It really was a great pass."

On top of that, Knight was called for a foul and he looked dazed while on the court.

Jordan made the free throw to complete the three-point play.

"That was the best dunk of the year," Griffin said. "That was the best dunk I've seen in person."

Though the Clippers (45-20) are one game behind Memphis (42-19) in the loss column, they are back in the third spot in the Western Conference.

The Clippers will play host to the Grizzlies on Wednesday.

"We can't celebrate too much," Jordan said. "We've got a big game coming up this week against Memphis and that's going to be a tough one. So we've got to be ready for that."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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