The Clippers were short-handed Monday, playing without maestro point guard Chris Paul and key reserve Mo Williams.

They were playing the first in a series of back-to-back-to-back games, and the first of five games in seven days, knowing this was a taxing part of their schedule.

So what do the Clippers do?

They bolted out to an early 18-point lead against the lowly New Jersey Nets, only to see it sliced until it was a tie game in the fourth quarter, and relied on Chauncey Billups to deliver the big shot for the 101-91 victory Monday at Staples Center.