They were and are close friends, but now Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul and Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe will be foes.

Paul and the Clippers will host Bledsoe and his surprising Suns on Monday night at Staples Center.

Paul and Bledsoe were teammates for two seasons with the Clippers, and the two of them used to go at each other during practice. Paul was like the big brother, always giving Bledsoe advice on how to run the team, how to be a better point guard.

Paul still sends text to Bledsoe, who is having a career year with the Suns, averaging a career highs in points (18.4) and assists (5.9). Bledsoe was a part of a three-team, four-player trade that sent him to the Suns from the Clippers last summer.

“I text Bledsoe all the time, even now during the season when I’m watching him play on [NBA] League Pass,” Paul said. “I talk to him about some of the big games that he’s  had. It’s going to be fun, to tell you the truth, because Bledsoe is unbelievable right now. He’s better now than he was last year. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. We’re going to compete.”

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broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter:@BA_Turner