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Clippers could limit Chris Paul's minutes Sunday at Memphis

April 28, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin

Chris Paul stood in front of a group of reporters at the Clippers practice facility on Saturday and said that he will play in his team's first playoff game Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

"No, I'm playing," he said. "I'm good."

Paul said that his mild groin strain, which kept him sidelined against New York on Wednesday, felt "all right."

"I'll be ready to play tomorrow," he said.

Paul participated in drills at Saturday's practice, but Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said that the All-Star point guard is not quite at full strength.

"I wouldn't say [he's] back all the way, you know. He went through some 5-on-0 stuff; he's moving; he said he felt all right. So we'll just see how he feels tomorrow," Del Negro said.

Del Negro acknowleged that Paul's minutes could be limited.

"I don't know yet, to be honest with you," Del Negro said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow going through shoot around and then we'll talk to Jason [Powell] our trainer. I'm sure he'll be limited a little bit. We want to try to be smart about it, but obviously we need him to play. So we'll see how he feels, and we'll go off that."

 

The Clippers, who have not reached the postseason since 2006, will need Paul on the court as much as possible for reasons that extend far beyond his 19.8 points and 9.1 assists a game.

Three Clippers starters have never been to the playoffs -- Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Randy Foye -- and Paul's leadership will be invaluable.

"All we do can do is keep telling them what it's going to be like and at the end of the day, go out and play," Paul said.

Griffin said he'll be ready.

"It's not just another game. Obviously the playoffs are kind of another level, but I can't see myself being extremely nervous for it. I'm just excited for it," Griffin said. 

Griffin and Paul said they're well aware that the Clippers are considered underdogs in the postseason, many expecting them to collapse early in the first round.

"If they went by popular vote, we'd have a tough chance," Paul said.

Griffin hopes his team will use that negativity to their advantage.

"Yeah, I mean, people don't expect us to win, and I think we realize that," Griffin said, "So hopefully we play with that chip on our shoulders. 

 

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