Clippers' Jared Dudley's hurting, and it shows


MIAMI — The Clippers had to deal with another injury that put them in something of a bind Thursday night against the Miami Heat.

Starting small forward Jared Dudley played with tendinitis in his right knee, limiting him to 27 minutes because of the pain. He had two points on one-for-five shooting.

"It's nothing major," Dudley said. "It's stuff that I've been going through since training camp. I think it's more of a strengthening thing."

Dudley tried to play because Matt Barnes was out for the second straight game with a bruised right thigh.

But because Dudley couldn't play much, the Clippers were forced to play power forward Blake Griffin on Miami's LeBron James at times during the game.

"We've got so many guys hurt so I had to play," Dudley said. "A night like tonight with LeBron, I could only imagine because Matt didn't play, Blake Griffin would have had to guard LeBron all night."

Dudley said he'll get treatment and play Saturday at Houston.

"Dudley is not 100% either. He probably should be sitting," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "But we needed him so he played."

Wanted: bench help

Last season, the Clippers had one of the best benches in the NBA, a group of reserves who averaged 40.1 points a game.

This season, the Clippers' bench has struggled. Other than Jamal Crawford, the rest of the Clippers' second unit hasn't been very good.

Led by Crawford's 14 points against the Heat, the Clippers' second team scored 31 points.

But the Heat's second team scored 33, meaning the Clippers' second unit has been outscored in five of the six games so far.

"The injuries are the No. 1 [problem] and we just haven't figured it out yet," Rivers said. "The continuity hasn't been good. Jamal is playing well. But really, after that, it's just up and down.…I think about after 15 or 20 [games] we'll talk."

Backup center Byron Mullens and backup point guard Darren Collison each scored six points against the Heat.

"I thought DC today played well," Rivers said. "He gave us some life and gave us some energy. And he needed that."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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