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Pacific Notes: Lakers, Kings, Suns

The playoff-bound Clippers knocked off the Warriors by the score of 112-104 in Saturday's early action. Led by 28 points and 13 assists from MVP candidate Chris Paul, the Clippers moved to within one game of the idle Lakers for the division lead and the third seed in the playoffs. Here's the latest news and happenings from around the Pacific Division.

  • Matt Moore of says that while the Lakers aren't the favorites to make it out of the Western Conference this season but nothing would surprise him given the way the team has played this season. Moore says the Lakers have looked like a team that could win the NBA title this season while just as easily ending as a squad that gets pummeled come playoff time. A healthy Andrew Bynum has given the Lakers a franchise center but the fate of the squad rests on head coach Mike Brown's shoulders and the game plan he draws up going forward.
  • While the Sacramento arena deal is seemingly dead at the moment, Kings co-owner George Maloof would be willing to restart negotiations if Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson removed himself from the process, writes J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today. According to Falgoust, Maloof is unhappy with how Johnson has treated Maloof and the rest of his family members and how Johnson has portrayed the family publicly. "We're disappointed in comments made by the mayor that we feel were shots to us that were unfair and not truthful."
  • Paul Coro of The Republic considers the Suns' chances for making the playoffs now that they have finished the most difficult part of their closing schedule. With three spots in the Western Conference up for grabs, the Suns have an opportunity to make up lost ground as they play five of their next six games at home. If the team comes up short, it would make the second straight season in which the Suns missed the playoffs.

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