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Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Rondo, Karl, Suns

The Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference, but at 16-12, they’re not looking nearly as dominant as they hoped after an offseason of upgrades, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times examines. They only have five wins against teams with winning records, Bolch notes.

“You’ve got to be honest with yourself as a team,” Griffin said. “I think this is the point of the season where either something’s got to change or we’re not going to put ourselves in a good position come playoff time.”

It’s clear that whatever the Clippers are doing right now isn’t working, posits Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. See more on the Clips amid our look at the Pacific Division:

  • In spite of the general disappointment about the team’s performance, coach/executive Doc Rivers has expressed satisfaction with Lance Stephenson, who was recently implicated in trade rumors that Rivers denied, as Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times relays (Twitter link). “You don’t know a guy until you coach guy or meet a guy,” Rivers said Friday in praise of the swingman with a reputation for volatile personality.
  • Rajon Rondo and George Karl don’t always see eye to eye, Karl admits, adding that the conflict isn’t alarming, and Rondo is eager to have more meetings with Karl and other key figures on the team, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “I think he enjoys my philosophies a little bit,” Karl said of the soon-to-be free agent point guard. “Not 100% in agreement, but I’ve always had wrestling matches with most of my point guards – and this is not a bad wrestling match – but we do have our wrestling match going on.”
  • The Suns are dealing with more internal strife than they’re letting on, and that transcends the questions regarding the future of Markieff Morris, according to former Suns front office hand Amin Elhassan of, who wrote in a roundtable piece Friday. The team lacks togetherness, ESPN’s Marc Stein observed in the same piece, and they’re active in trade talks, Brian Windhorst of noted.

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