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Clippers' Eric Bledsoe waits behind Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups

He scores a season-high 19 points in victory over Houston, which Paul sat out because of bruised kneecap. Bledsoe says he is preparing and learning to be a starting point guard thanks to the two veterans.

January 16, 2013|By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
  • Eric Bledsoe scored a season-high 19 points against Houston on Tuesday.
Eric Bledsoe scored a season-high 19 points against Houston on Tuesday. (David J. Phillip / Associated…)

HOUSTON — — At some point in his career, Eric Bledsoe wants to be a starting point guard in the NBA.

But he said he's not in a rush.

Bledsoe said he still is learning how to be a leader from Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, two of the game's best point guards.

"I'm just preparing for that moment," Bledsoe said in his typically quiet voice. "I'm still learning behind Chris and Chauncey. Hopefully, we win a championship and if I do get that chance, I can lead a team."

Bledsoe started for the second consecutive game because Paul was out because of a bruised right kneecap. Bledsoe finished with a season-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Clippers' 117-109 victory over Houston.

But Bledsoe knows that Paul is an All-Star point guard who is just 27 years old.

If Paul re-signs with the Clippers over the summer as most people expect, it will mean Bledsoe may have to leave the Clippers to become a starter.

"I'm just focused on winning," Bledsoe said. "I'm just focused on winning and learning how to win right now. For the most part, I'm just continuing working and building, learning how to run a team. The other stuff will take care of itself."

Paul sits out again

Paul missed his second consecutive game because of his injury and remains listed as day to day.

After Tuesday night's game, Paul didn't sound like somebody who would be playing Thursday night at Minnesota.

"Hmm! We'll see," Paul said. "I don't know yet."

"He's getting a lot of therapy," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He said he felt a lot better, but it's a day-to-day thing. He'll be back hopefully sooner than later."

Butler hurts foot

Caron Butler said he got an X-ray after the game because the bottom of his right foot was sore.

Butler said he was fine.

"I planted and something strained in my foot," he said. "I'll be good, though."

Hill reaches a milestone

Grant Hill played in his 1,000th NBA game against the Rockets.

"Took me about 20 years to get here," joked Hill, who is an 18-year veteran. "But I made it. I ain't complaining."

Hill, 40, played in his third straight game Tuesday night after missing the first 35 of the season because of a bone bruise in his right knee.

Hill's career has been beset by career-threatening injuries.

"Grant has had a phenomenal career," Del Negro said. "He's a complete pro. He's had to battle some injuries throughout, especially years back. But he's come back and he still has the passion to play. I've said it from day one. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone as professional as Grant Hill."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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