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CLIPPERS FYI

Chris Paul says injury won't keep him out of Clippers playoff opener

The guard is confident he'll be fine for Sunday's playoff opener against Memphis after missing Wednesday's game against New York because of a left groin strain.

April 25, 2012|By Broderick Turner

NEW YORK — Either Saturday or Sunday, the Clippers will start the playoffs and no matter what, Chris Paul said he will play.

Paul sat out the Clippers' game Wednesday night against the New York Knicks because of a mild left groin strain.

The Clippers will play the Memphis Grizzlies in a Western Conference first-round playoff series this weekend.

"Yeah, I'll be OK," Paul said.

Paul could get an extra day to rest and treat his injury if the playoff series begins on Sunday.

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Paul said. "I'll be good."

So will he be playing for sure?

"No question," Paul responded.

The decision to hold Paul out against the Knicks was made by Paul, trainer Jasen Powell and Coach Vinny Del Negro.

"It was all of us, like any other decision we make," Paul said. "It wasn't that big of a deal. You're making it bigger than it was. It's the last game of the season and the playoffs start in a couple of days."

Del Negro said it was important to rest Paul so that he can be ready for the playoffs, even if it meant giving up the home-court advantage.

"The most important thing is to be smart about it, look at the big picture," Del Negro said. "Chris needs to be healthy, whether we're home or away, so that he can play at a high level for us. If he had played tonight and irritated it or there was some swelling or maybe it got worse and then we play Saturday or Sunday and it's a quick turnaround, I didn't think it was worth the risk."

Eric Bledsoe started in place of Paul and veteran Mo Williams came in as the reserve point guard.

Neither played very well.

Bledsoe had only two points on one-for-five shooting and Williams had nine points on three-for-nine shooting.

Coach K visits

Duke and U.S. Olympic basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski paid a visit to the Clippers' locker room before the game, checking on Paul about playing in the Olympics this summer.

Blake Griffin said he went into the Clippers' training room and also talked to Krzyzewski.

Griffin is on the list of 20 players who are candidates to be on the U.S. team.

Sub-.500 road record

Before Wednesday night's game, the Clippers had an opportunity to do something no other Los Angeles Clippers team had done in a season — finish with a better than .500 road record.

But they failed to do so.

By losing their third straight game on the road, the Clippers finished with a 16-17 record away from Staples Center.

The most wins on the road for the Clippers since they moved to Los Angeles in 1984 was when they were 20-21 during the 2005-06 season, the last time they reached the playoffs.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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