Clippers' Matt Barnes has elevated game since trade deadline passed

Two weeks have passed since the NBA trading deadline, two weeks for Matt Barnes to contemplate his future with the Clippers.

Barnes has elevated his game during that time, but it still appears to weigh on the small forward that he was among Clippers mentioned in trade talks with the New York Knicks.

Rather than sulk, Barnes has seemed to use that as fuel for perhaps his best stretch of games all season.

In six games after the trade deadline passed, Barnes averaged 17.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists before the Clippers played the Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center.

Barnes shot lights out during that span, making 58.8% of his attempts, 51.3% (20 for 39) of his three-point tries.

He has said he just wanted to "stay aggressive," but it appears as if he's trying to prove a point to the Clippers' front office.

Barnes signed a three-year, $10.2-million deal with the Clippers last summer and wants to remain here.

Now he is letting his recent play do most of the talking for him.

"Like I've said, as long as I'm here, while I'm here, I'm going to come out here and do what I can do to help this team," Barnes said. "It has to be on both ends of the floor, and I'm going to continue to do that."

Dudley's back injury

Clippers reserve small forward Jared Dudley missed his first game of the season with back spasms.

Dudley said he hopes to play Saturday night when the Clippers host the Atlanta Hawks.

"The first ... it was hard for me to sleep," Dudley said. "I came in and got treatment both days and it has loosened up a little bit. It's not painful when I go north and south. It's my movement, basically all basketball movements."

Dudley was injured in the fourth quarter Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns.

He drove for a layup and grabbed his back. Dudley immediately went to the locker room and didn't return to action.

"When I went to put the ball down, it was spasms, it tightened up on me," Dudley said. "That's why when I went in for the layup, I grabbed by back."

Crawford out again

Clippers guard Jamal Crawford missed his third consecutive game with a strained left calf.

Coach Doc Rivers said Crawford could play Saturday against the Hawks or Monday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.

"He's close," Rivers said. "I wouldn't be surprised if it's our next game or Monday. I think he'll be back one of those two. I don't know that, but that's just my feeling."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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