MINNEAPOLIS When TNT announced the starters Thursday for the NBA All-Star game, it didn't come as a surprise the Clippers had Chris Paul and Blake Griffin named to the Western Conference team.
Paul, who missed his third straight game Thursday night at Minnesota because of a bruised right kneecap, was picked to start in the backcourt alongside Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
Griffin was picked to start in the frontcourt with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and the Lakers' Dwight Howard.
Paul and Griffin are big reasons why the Clippers have the second-best record in the NBA.
Paul is averaging 16.8 points, 9.7 assists and an NBA-best 2.62 steals per game.
Griffin leads the Clippers in scoring (17.7 points per game) and rebounding (8.4).
"They deserve it," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Blake is having a fantastic year. You've seen a lot of growth in his game. He's one of our leaders, and Chris as well. Both of them are having fantastic years."
Butler, Paul injury update