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Jamal Crawford should have been an All-Star reserve, Clippers say

Vinny Del Negro and his players speak up for the guard, who is passed over for the Western Conference All-Star team. Seven reserves are announced Thursday.

January 24, 2013|By Broderick Turner

PHOENIX — Rather than talk about his disappointment in not being selected as a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford let others do the talking.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Crawford should have been on the team as a reserve.

But when the seven reserves were announced Thursday, Crawford's name was not called.

"Obviously, we've got two guys in it," said Del Negro, referring to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who were voted in by the fans as starters. "With our record and the way Jamal has performed for us and being such a catalyst for us, you always want your guys that have been having a good year to have an opportunity to play in that."

Crawford is tied for second in scoring for the Clippers, averaging 16.6 points per game.

He has been clutch for the Clippers late in games.

Crawford is third in the NBA in total points (266 before Thursday night's game) in the fourth quarter.

His teammates say Crawford should have made the team.

"He's played an unbelievable role on this team, which is a good team," Chauncey Billups said. "He has a lot of responsibility on this team, and his responsibility is pretty much the same as most of the other All-Stars. He comes in when the team is struggling, puts them on his back and brings them back to life. He rarely lets us down. I feel bad that he didn't make it because he really deserves it."

Paul out again

Paul missed his fifth game because of a bruised right kneecap.

Del Negro said Paul has been getting therapy on his knee and resting but hasn't been getting any contact.

Del Negro said there isn't a timetable for Paul to return.

The Clippers play again Saturday at Portland.

"He's still doing some conditioning things," Del Negro said. "There is no timetable, it's just, 'Is he feeling better?' He is just staying off it a little bit."

The Clippers lose an average 16.6 points and 9.7 assists — and leadership — when Paul doesn't play.

Eric Bledsoe started at point guard in place of Paul.

Billups making progress

Billups played three-on-three Thursday and looked to be making progress.

He has been out because of tendinitis in his left foot.

There still is no timetable for Billups to return.

"It's feeling better all the time," Billups said. "Obviously, I'm not ready to get out there and play five-on-five and be in a real game yet. But it's encouraging. It's getting better."

Del Negro said it was good to see Billups play with some contact.

"That was good to see," Del Negro said. "He's getting better."

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