PHOENIX — Jared Dudley had started the first 29 regular-season games for the Clippers, struggling to find his way before eventually losing his small forward position to Matt Barnes on Jan. 20 at Detroit.
Now Dudley is in the midst of just trying to get some playing time, but even with limited minutes, he hasn’t complained.
“You just got to stay ready,” Dudley said. “I just think my game is suited for the playoffs. When you have two or three days to prepare for a guy, you know what you’re going to get from me.”
Things got worse for Dudley when the Clippers signed free-agent Danny Granger, who just happened to play the same small forward position as Dudley.
Then when Dudley missed three games last month with back spasms, he found himself as the third small forward.
Even when he got to start against Minnesota Monday night in place of the injured Blake Griffin (back spasms), Dudley played out of position at power forward.
Griffin returned to action Wednesday and Dudley was back to coming off the bench against the Suns. But with Granger back in Los Angeles nursing a strained left hamstring, Dudley is getting more playing time.
“I just think that when I got hurt, we went on that winning streak and it’s kind of hard to get filled in,” Dudley said. “Plus, what position am I going to play? So for me, it’s all about being ready.”
Crawford, Redick out
Jamal Crawford missed his second straight game with a sore left Achilles’ tendon that he injured against Houston Saturday night.
Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick missed his 25th consecutive game because of a bulging disk in his lower back. He has been ruled out of the Clippers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday at Staples Center.
But the Clippers have three home games next week — against the Lakers on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday and the Sacramento Kings on April 12 — and it’s possible Redick could return during that span.
“We’ll make a decision then,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “After we get home, our schedule turns.... . After [Thursday’s] game, every game we’ve got two days off. So it’s a pretty good schedule.”