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CLIPPERS FYI

Clippers' Eric Bledsoe wants to play Saturday

Guard's calf feels better, but he will be a game-time decision.

March 22, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Eric Bledsoe is averaging 9.0 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 21.1 minutes a game for the Clippers this season.
Eric Bledsoe is averaging 9.0 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 21.1… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

There was excitement in Eric Bledsoe's voice.

Bledsoe was excited because the sore left calf muscle that kept him out of the Clippers' last five games didn't give him any pain when he was finally able to practice Friday.

He wasn't ready to declare himself ready to play Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center, saying that "I want to" and that "we'll see."

Officially, the Clippers said Bledsoe is a game-time decision.

"Yeah, I'm feeling good," Bledsoe said. "You're not going to see me over there moping anymore. I'm ready to play now. It's better."

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said that guard Chauncey Billups, who missed Wednesday night's game because of a strained right groin, practiced but didn't do any contact.

"Both of the guys will be evaluated tomorrow after shoot-around and I'll have a better feel before the game," Del Negro said about Billups and Bledsoe.

Bledsoe hasn't played since March 7, at Denver.

"I've been wanting to get out there and compete with my team," Bledsoe said. "I was playing pretty good in practice defensively. I feel good.

"With CP [Chris Paul] playing all those minutes, we've got to try and give him a break. We're going to need him."

Paul has been averaging 36 minutes a game this month.

Counting wins

The Clippers pretty much know that they are going to win the Pacific Division. But where they are going finish in the Western Conference remains up in the air.

Before Friday's games, the Clippers would have been the fourth seed in the West because they would be the division winner. But had the playoffs started, the Clippers (47-22) would have begun the first round of the playoffs at Denver because the Nuggets (48-22) have a better record.

"Pressure is great, I think," Del Negro said. "You want to be in this situation. We have to play good basketball.

"I think guys have to understand that they are in a very unique situation and they should try and take advantage of it as much as possible. So, I think it's good pressure."

Flop City

The Clippers were informed by the NBA on Thursday that Paul was warned for flopping against Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday night.

Any player who gets a second violation for flopping will be fined $5,000.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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