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- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro labels Chris Paul’s playing status as day-to-day. Monday at Washington is not one of those playing days as the dynamic point guard will miss his eighth straight game with a bruised right kneecap. Not surprisingly, the Pacific Division leading Clippers (34-15) have struggled without the All-Star, losing six of eight including the first two games of the current eight-game road trip. Del Negro said he expects Chauncey Billups, out since Dec. 3 with left foot tendinitis, back before Paul. Then again, as Del Negro said, “a lot of the plans haven’t worked out the way we wanted including some of the injuries. That’s just part of dealing with it.”
- One upshot of no Paul for this particular matchup against the Wizards (11-35) is Eric Bledsoe starts – and plays against his former University of Kentucky teammate John Wall. The speedsters both played the 2009-10 college basketball season for the Wildcats before turning pro. The third-year guards will be facing each other as starters for the first time in the NBA.
- Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal, the reigning two-time Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, remains out with a sprained right wrist. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Beal shot a staggering 60.4 percent (26 of 43) from beyond the 3-point arc while averaging 19.2 points during the first nine games in January. His touch diminished after following a hard fall on Jan. 18 at Denver. Eventually rest became the course of action. Monday’s game will be the fourth straight without Beal. Washington is 0-4 in that stretch.
- Monday’s game concludes the season series. Behind 22 points and 11 assists from Paul, the Clippers won in Los Angeles 94-87 on Jan. 19. Wall led all scorers with 24 points.
– Benjamin Standig