CP3 nears triple-double, aggravates elbow in Clippers’ victory

Chris Paul was two rebounds away from a triple double against Philadelphia on Saturday, but he never got off the bench in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers were winning big against the 76ers and Paul — who already has one triple double this season — was just fine with rest over chasing rebounds.

"Oh no, any time I can sit in the fourth quarter I’m with it. I’m going to sit," Paul said. "I was on the bench and J.J. (Redick) told me. It’s happened over the course of my career, where I’ll get like nine rebounds."

Paul finished with 24 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and a banged up right elbow as he led the Clippers to a 127-91 win over Philadelphia.

In the third quarter, Paul stole the ball and was fouled on a fastbreak by Malcolm Thomas. He slammed into the padding on the basketball hoop and spun around. He was holding his right elbow afterward but stayed in the game and made both free throws.

 "I really don’t even like to go on fastbreaks like that, but I got the steal so I had no choice," Paul said. "My elbow was bothering me for a while. I don’t feel good, so I’ll definitely get some treatment (Sunday)."

It was exactly one year ago that Paul sustained a separated shoulder and missed one month last season. He had a bruised right elbow in 2012.

Paul didn’t come out of Saturday’s game at Staples Center until Doc Rivers took the starters out. Paul held the right elbow for a few seconds but then made both free throws with 4:52 left in the third quarter. He played the rest of the quarter, and he and Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeAndre Jordan and Redick watched as the bench held pace –€“ something that was dearly needed, no matter that it was against a 28-loss team.

The Clippers had two days off between games for the first time since Dec. 4-5. Not coincidentally, Dec. 5 was the last time the Clippers had a full practice until Friday.

"It definitely helped," Paul said. "We had a good practice yesterday and the rest really helps. I think today we felt like we had our legs under us a little bit more. Sometimes you have to miss each other and miss the gym. I think that is what happened today. We just could not wait to get out there and play with each other."

Paul has done so much in his three years with the Clippers, but Saturday marked the first time as a Clipper that he had 24-plus points, 12-plus assists, 8-plus rebounds and 2-plus steals. It was the eighth time in his career he’s posted that line.

Paul is fourth in NBA All-Star voting to become the Western Conference’s starting point guard, behind Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant and James Harden.