CLIPPERS AT ROCKETS, 8 P.M. ET

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  • Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Chris Paul (contusion in right kneecap) will miss his second game in a row Tuesday, which means Eric Bledsoe will receive another start at point guard. With swelling still present in Paul’s knee, he and Del Negro agreed that it is a no-brainer to sacrifice in the short term to place the team in a better position moving forward. “It’s day-to-day,” Del Negro said. “He feels a lot better today. He’s gotten great therapy, but we’re just taking it a day at a time. He’ll be a game-time decision Thursday.”
  • Rockets guard Jeremy Lin sprained his left ankle when he accidentally stepped on Toney Douglas’ foot during Monday’s practice, but he participated in Tuesday morning’s shootaround and will start against Los Angeles. With Lin available, coach Kevin McHale should have enough depth in his backcourt to avoid distributing minutes to rookie Patrick Beverley, who Houston called up from its D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, only hours after Lin tweaked his ankle. “I was concerned [Lin] would really be limping and hobbling around,” McHale said. “He’s not 100 percent. … We’ll see how he is.”
  • Del Negro said the presence of forward Grant Hill, who will appear in his 1,000th game Tuesday, has a greater impact on the Clippers (29-9) than most outsiders realize. Del Negro seems genuinely excited to see what a healthy Hill can offer as the 18-year veteran rounds into form in the month leading up to the All-Star break. “He still has the passion to play,” Del Negro said. “I’ve said it from day one, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody as professional as Grant Hill. … I think he’s going to give us another dimension to our team that’s going to be exciting.”
  • The Rockets (21-17) have made the first change to their starting lineup this season that was not at least partially caused by an injury. Patrick Patterson will start at power forward in place of Marcus Morris, who started the previous 16 games.

Matt Miller

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