Clippers not forgetting Eric Bledsoe, Willie Green

With the return of Chauncey Billups after missing eight games, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro’s favorite problem resurfaced for the regular season’s final two games.
That’s getting enough time for his deep bench, particularly guards Willie Green and Eric Bledsoe.
Green has been on fire in the past month, hitting 23 of his 36 3-pointers in that span entering Tuesday’s game against Portland. That 64-percent shooting is the tops in the league during that period and increased Green’s season percentage to 43.0, seventh-best in the NBA.
“It’s been challenging all year,” Del Negro said. “We’ve had enough injuries where we’ve been able to work through it, but Willie deserves to play, Eric Bledsoe deserves to play more at times. Grant Hill is not getting a great opportunity but every time we put him in he’s been productive.”
Bledsoe, who was hot in January and early February while Billups and Chris Paul missed time with injuries, went through a slump and then the Clippers finally sat him to heal a nagging calf injury.
“He tried to play through it, it wasn’t right, we were scared it was getting really tight and he was going to really strain it and be out for a while,” Del Negro said. “We sat him down for an extended period to get it right because he gives us an edge to us defensively and with the speed he plays with.
“We knew that was going to be a factor for us. I feel he’s playing with a lot of confidence, his energy and the way he plays is very important especially with that second unit. Or if he’s out there with Chris, how he uses his athleticism to pressure the basketball defensively. He’s done a very good job for us.”
Bledsoe’s role could take on added significance if the Clippers match up with Memphis and guard Mike Conley in the playoffs.
“He changes our complexion with his speed,” Del Negro said. “He had a big tip-in the other night against New Orleans late in the game. Against Conley, who’s very quick, we can throw Bled on him a little bit. Just the versatility he brings us is a value.”

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