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Clippers' Chris Paul won't let hurt elbow keep him out of Dallas game

The guard says stinger he got in Utah game hurt, but he'll be OK. Monday's game will serve as a tiebreaker for first round of playoffs if Clippers and Mavericks end regular season with same record.

April 01, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Chris Paul returns to defense after his Clippers scored against the Utah Jazz during Saturday's game at Staples Center.
Chris Paul returns to defense after his Clippers scored against the Utah… (Harry How / Getty Images )

DALLAS — Chris Paul, aware of the significance of the Clippers' game against the Mavericks in Dallas on Monday night, said he won't let his bruised right elbow keep him from playing.

The Clippers are currently the fourth-seeded team in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of the fifth-seeded Mavericks.

It is the third and final meeting between the two teams, which have split the first two games.

If the Clippers and Mavericks finish the regular season with identical records, the winner of this game will have the first tiebreaker. That could be the difference between hosting a first-round playoff series or starting on the road.

"These are big games as far as the seedings go," said Paul, who injured his elbow in the third quarter of Saturday night's game against the Utah Jazz. "You never know what's going to happen if you finish with the same record.

"As you can see, the Western Conference, as usual, is bunched up right there.... . So, right now every win is valuable and we have more road games than at home."

Paul said he injures his elbow"all the time."

"But probably not a stinger this bad," Paul said after the Jazz game.

"It went quick, it hurt," the guard said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I'm happy I'm OK, though."

Though the Clippers didn't practice Sunday before they left for Dallas, Paul and other players received treatment at the team's practice facility.

It was also an opportunity for the Clippers to discuss the importance of playing Dallas.

"Yeah, it's big," forward Blake Griffin said. "Really, to be honest, every game right now for us is big, because it could be the difference between being in the fourth seed or the fifth seed. But that [a win] would be huge, especially against a team like Dallas, who is so crafty and has a lot of veterans."

April will challenge Clippers

The Clippers got through the month of March, in which they played 20 games in 31 days.

But the month of April — the final month of the regular season — will not be much easier for the Clippers, something Paul acknowledged.

"We did all right," Paul said about the Clippers' going 11-9 last month. "We struggled on the road."

The Clippers have 14 regular-season games left, and nine are away from Staples Center.

Of those nine road games, six of the teams are seeking to secure some type of playoff positioning.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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