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Pacific Rumors: Bledsoe, Karl, Clippers

The loss of Eric Bledsoe to a season-ending knee injury has forced Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to make several adjustments to his rotation, Greg Esposito of the team’s website reports. Brandon Knight has taken over the role as the main floor leader with Ronnie Price and Bryce Cotton backing him up. Rookie Devin Booker gets the nod at shooting guard, with Sonny Weems and Archie Goodwin in reserve, Hornacek told Esposito. The Suns nearly upset the Cavaliers on Monday and Hornacek felt his new backcourt played reasonably well in Bledsoe’s absence. “Without Eric in the game, it was a little different,” Hornacek told Esposito. “We had gone over a few plays that might be good for the guys. I thought they really came out and executed it. Defensively, we gave up a lot of 3-point attempts that we need to get better at. Some of it was closing out that we need to get better at.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach George Karl has found it difficult to connect with his players and is frustrated by their lack of consistency, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Karl can no longer be as fiery as he once was because of the way current players react, so he has tried to appeal to them in other ways, Jones continues. “Just tell stories,” Karl told Jones. “You try to bring up situations. My explanation the last couple of weeks is just trying to explain to them how difficult this league is, how tough it is to be successful in this league.”
  • The Clippers used a three-guard alignment against the Wizards on Monday and coach Doc Rivers liked the results, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Rivers played reserves Jamal Crawford, Pablo Priogioni and Austin Rivers during the first half and the Clippers extended their lead. His son’s versatility allows the three-guard set to work, according to the coach. “The reason we get away with it is because Austin can guard the one, two or the three,” Doc Rivers told the assembled media. “We just put him on them and then we put Pablo on the second-best guy and put Jamal on the third guy. And so it works for us.”
  • Chris Paul is impressed how the Clippers are playing without Blake Griffin, according to Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. The Clippers won their first two games after Griffin suffered a partially torn quad tendon. “I just think we’re fighting,” he told Morales. “We know we’re a big man short and so everyone knows that they have to be involved in the game.”

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