Chris Paul sits out fourth straight as Eric Bledsoe learns on the job

Chris Paul sat out Sunday for the fourth consecutive game and for the seventh time in nine contests because of a bruised right kneecap, which meant Eric Bledsoe replaced him as the Clippers’ starting point guard for the fourth straight game and the seventh time in nine contests.

It’s uncertain when Paul will be sound enough to practice or play, with coach Vinny Del Negro saying there was no timetable for his return to active duty. Paul was injured when he knocked knees with J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12.

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Eric Bledsoe makes his mark on another Clippers victory

Eric Bledsoe had his hand in another Clippers victory, this time a 102-83 win Sunday afternoon over the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. That wasn’t exactly front page news, as far as the Clippers were concerned.

“I really think he’s going to be a star,” teammate Chauncey Billups said before Bledsoe scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and added six assists in the Clippers’ sixth consecutive win. Billups also called Bledsoe “a freak athlete,” adding, “I haven’t see many players with the athleticism he has. I see something new from him every night.

“It’s a gift from God.”

Bledsoe always had the physical part within him, as evidenced by his raw skills.

What’s new this season is his ability to think the game a little better.

“Experience is always the best teacher,” said Billups, a guard playing his16th season in the NBA.” I can tell him to look for this. Be ready for this. Or they’re going to do this. He’ll come back and say, ‘Dang, Chauncey, you know what they did?’ And I’ll say, ‘I told you to look for it.’

“The more minutes he plays, the more situations he’s in, in games, he sees it for himself. Because he’s waiting on it. Maybe he missed it. (But) he’ll pick it up and he won’t get beat again. It’s been a joy to see his development.”

Bledsoe, who turned 23 on Sunday and is playing his third season with the Clippers, continues to develop a sound earth-bound game to go with his high-wire act. His perimeter jump shot, like teammate Blake Griffin’s, is something of a work in progress.

“When he gets more consistent with it, he’s going to be impossible to guard,” Billups said. “He’s going to be a nightmare matchup. You get right up on him, and he’ll just go right by you.”

Point guard Chris Paul put it this way: “I play against him every day in practice. When you get in a game and it’s not ‘EBled’ on you, it’s almost like you’re in a rocking chair.”

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Eric Bledsoe makes one list of the NBA’s most improved players

Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe has gone from dud to stud, according to a story in The New York Times on the NBA’s most-improved players so far in 2012-13. Bledsoe joined fellow point guard Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, a former UCLA standout, and Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks on the Times’ list.

Of the hyper-kenetic Bledsoe, the Times wrote:

“In his first two seasons in the NBA, Eric Bledsoe was largely an unproductive bench player for the Los Angeles Clippers. Entering this season, his true shooting percentage — a measure of scoring efficiency that takes into account 2-point field goals, 3-pointers and free throws — was .489 for his career.

“To make matters worse, he was turning the ball over on about 26 percent of his plays (a play is defined as an offensive sequence that results in a shot from the floor, three throws or a turnover), one of the worst rates in the league over that time.

“The Clippers were not ready to write off the 22-year-old Bledsoe, and he has rewarded them for their patience: his true shooting percentage this season has improved to .563, and he has reduced his turnover rate to 16.7 percent.

“Bledsoe has managed to become a much more efficent player despite taking on a larger role in the offense, as his usage percentage — the percentage of team plays a player uses while he is on the floor — has improved from a career average of 18.1 percent entering the season to 26.3 percent this season.”

Or as we used to say in my neighborhood, “Dude can play.”

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email