A visit to the Phoenix Suns might help if Paul has to sit out and could aid the Clippers’ attempt to avoid a third straight defeat Thursday night.
Paul missed the Clippers’ sweep of a three-game road trip last week because of a bruised right kneecap. He tried to play in the next two games but the injury ultimately proved too bothersome.
“There’s no timetable right now,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He’s just sore … It’s a pain tolerance thing. It’s a bruise on your kneecap and you have to be able to run and move and cut and jump and do things and it’s going to be sore for a while.
“He’s just go to work through it and we’ll get him a lot of therapy and when he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”
In a 106-99 loss at Golden State on Monday, Paul had a season-low four points on 1-of-7 shooting and sat out a 109-97 defeat to Oklahoma City the next day. Blake Griffin had a season-high 31 points but the other starters combined for just 28.
Eric Bledsoe had 12 points - on 5-of-16 shooting - and four assists while starting in place of Paul. It might be up to Bledsoe to try to fill his All-Star teammates’ big shoes when the Clippers play 10 of their next 11 on the road.
“Chris is the orchestrator. He’ll organize everything out there,” guard Jamal Crawford said. “There’s no way to replace him, but collectively we’ll get it together.”
The Clippers have had it together in their two matchups with the Suns this season. Los Angeles (32-11) has won those games by a combined 44 points and handed out a 103-77 rout in Phoenix on Dec. 23, snapping a string of 10 consecutive defeats there.
Griffin had 23 points and 11 rebounds in that win and Jamal Crawford chipped in 22 off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting.
The Suns (14-28), the last-place team in the Pacific Division, don’t appear poised for their first win over the first-place Clippers this season as they’ve lost 13 of 16 and a season-high four in a row at home.
Phoenix, though, pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 106-96 victory at Sacramento in its first game under interim coach Lindsey Hunter on Wednesday. Michael Beasley had 13 of his 19 points in the final period, and Luis Scola scored a team-best 21 on 9-of-13 shooting.
Hunter replaced Alvin Gentry, who was let go Friday after Phoenix dropped seven of eight.
“It’s been painful,” Scola said about the change in coaches. “You don’t want it to happen. It’s not the coach’s fault, it’s everyone’s fault. We couldn’t do it with Alvin, but we’re going to try to make this coach successful.”
Beasley is averaging 20.2 points on 53.8 percent shooting in 11 all-time games against the Clippers, his best output versus any opponent. With his help, the Suns will try to avoid suffering a fifth straight home loss for the first time since March 2004.
Crawford has topped 20 points in each of his last three games against Phoenix, and Griffin has averaged 23.5 points on 62.1 percent shooting (18 of 29) in this season’s two matchups.
The Clippers haven’t won three straight over the Suns in a single season since 1995-96.