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Clippers hope to make up ground against Knicks

Point guard Chris Paul says Sunday's game against New York is big and that the Clippers need to get back on track after losing to Memphis. Paul thinks the team has time to improve before the playoffs.

March 16, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Chris Paul, right, drives past New York's' Raymond Felton during the Clippers' 102-88 victory over the Knicks in February.
Chris Paul, right, drives past New York's' Raymond Felton during… (Frank Franklin II / Associated…)

It doesn't matter to the Clippers that the New York Knicks are dealing with injuries.

What matters to the Clippers is that they win a game soon to get rid of the bitter taste from the loss to Memphis on Wednesday night.

"It's a big game for us," said point guard Chris Paul. "It's a home game and being that we lost our last game against Memphis, we need to get back on track."

Multiple reports have Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (fluid drained from right knee) and center Tyson Chandler (bruised left knee) either not playing or a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Clippers at Staples Center.

The Clippers can't worry about that because they haven't played their best basketball in a while.

They are aware that they have lost to the elite teams in the NBA.

Still, Paul maintained the Clippers' confidence hasn't wavered just because they have lost to top teams such as Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Denver and Memphis lately.

"Not for me and I don't think for the other guys, because we know who we are capable of beating," Paul said. "And for us, it doesn't matter if you beat everybody. It's all about playing right for the playoffs."

The Clippers have 16 regular-season games left, which Paul said he believes is more than enough time for them to improve.

"It's definitely the stretch run," Paul said. "The good thing about not necessarily playing as well as we could right now is the fact that we know we can get better. If everything was clicking, it would be like, 'What can we do?' But now we know that we can get better."

In the eyes of Caron Butler, the Clippers have the potential to beat the top-tier teams.

Butler, who will play after missing one game with a bruised left elbow, said it's best not to "peak at the wrong time."

"I think you want to be playing your best basketball within the next two weeks going into the real thick of things," Butler said. "I think we're on target.

"We're going to continue to build. We've got a locker room full of guys that's been told what we can't do. So we look forward to this challenge. I've been told what I can't do my whole entire life. I love proving doubters wrong. So we're going to stay on it."

Injury update

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Butler practiced Saturday and didn't have any setbacks with his elbow injury.

"It's fine," Del Negro said. "He's got a sleeve on. It's not 100%, but I expect him to be available [Sunday]."

Del Negro said Eric Bledsoe didn't practice and will not play against the Knicks.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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