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  • The Clippers will be without starting shooting guard J.J. Redick for a second straight game when they host the Raptors tonight at Staples Center. Redick, fourth on the team in scoring at 15.7 points, has been slowed a sore hip that began taking its toll at the beginning of this month. Redick averaged 17.2 points and shot 46.8 percent from 3-point range in his first 11 games back after sitting out 21 straight games with a right hand injury. But in the first two games of February, he combined for 13 points on 5-for-17 from the field. Clippers coach Doc Rivers didn’t like the way Redick was moving in the shoot-around prior to the Miami game Wednesday and scratched him from the game. He’s still considered day-to-day moving forward. Jamal Crawford, the team’s third-leading scorer (18.3) behind Blake Griffin (23.7) and the injured Chris Paul (19.6), will move into the starting lineup for the second straight game.
  • Paul is close to returning from a right shoulder separation but it won’t be tonight. The team is aiming for a Sunday evening return against the visiting 76ers but Paul is also considered day-to-day. Paul, who also averages 11.2 assists and 2.6 steals, has been out since taking a tumble against the Mavericks on Jan. 3. L.A. went on to win that game and has gone 11-6 since. With a win tonight, the Clippers will have a better winning percentage without Paul (.666) than they had with him the first 35 games (.657). 
  • After a 6-12 start, Toronto has regrouped well and comes into the game third in the East, 9 ½ games behind second-place Miami and leading a group of five teams that are separated by just three games in the standings. The Raptors really have nowhere to go but down and this game marks the end of a five-game road trip, so they need to be careful of a letdown against an L.A. team that’s coming off a tough loss to the Heat. Toronto lost at Sacramento the same night, against a team that came in with twice as many losses as wins, and coach Dwane Casey wasn’t pleased with the Raptors lack of fire at the outset. Therefore, they shouldn’t lack motivation against the Clippers.

– Dan Arritt

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