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Pacific Notes: Griffin, Booker, Looney

The Clippers did not seem to miss power forward Blake Griffin during the initial aftermath of the quadriceps tendon tear he suffered on Christmas, but that has changed, Andrew Han of ESPN.com writes. Point guard Chris Paul told Han and other reporters after the Clippers lost to the Cavs by 24 points on Sunday that Griffin’s extended absence is taking a toll. “[Playing without him] gets real tough,” Paul said. “They have three, four guys out there that [with a] low shot clock can bail you out. Just all that tension that he brings opens it up for all of us.” The Clippers won their first nine games without Griffin but have stumbled recently, losing by double digits in three of their last five games. Griffin’€s hand, which he fractured in a January 23rd fight with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi, has healed faster than his quad. Once he is cleared for game action, Griffin still faces a four-game team-imposed suspension for that incident.

In other news around the Pacific Division:
  • The Clippers are likely to keep their superstar trio of Paul, Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan intact this summer, a panel of ESPN Insider experts opines. As Jeremias Engelmann points out, superstars rarely get dealt unless they request a trade. A majority of the panel also believes the Clippers will be better off when Griffin returns from his injuries and suspension.
  • Rookie shooting guard Devin Booker is often initiating the Suns’ half-court offense, even with the return of point guard Brandon Knight from a sports hernia, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports. Booker recorded 11 assists against the Warriors on Saturday. “Both of us can bring the ball up the floor, so you get the rest,” Booker told Coro. “If you have to bring it up every time, it’s tough on a team.”
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was instrumental in the Warriors hiring Bob Myers as their assistant GM in 2011, as owner Joe Lacob discusses at length in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Myers was promoted to GM the following year.
  • The Warriors recalled power forward Kevon Looney from their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, according to the team’s website. Looney has appeared in 12 games with Santa Cruz this season, including two games during his latest assignment.

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