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Western Notes: Griffin, D-League, Conley

The Clippers are awaiting the return of Blake Griffin and point guard Chris Paul asserts the team can’t contend for a title without the high-flying power forward, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com relays. Griffin, who will have a four-game suspension to serve once he returns from his broken hand, hasn’t played since December 25th. “I don’t care if he gets back the day before the playoffs.” Paul said regarding Griffin. “We’re playing for a championship and there’s no championship without Blake Griffin. There’s not one.” When coach/executive Doc Rivers was asked how long it would take to Griffin to ready himself for the postseason, Rivers told Howard-Cooper, “We don’t know. As soon as he’s ready, we’re going to go from there. But do we need him? We’d be crazy to say, ‘No, no,’ you know what I mean? It’s ‘Yeah, yeah.’ We’re just going to take it day by day.”

Here’s the latest from out West:

  • Injuries have hit the Grizzlies hard this season, but point guard Mike Conley insists that it’s part of the game and the team can’t use its missing personnel as a crutch, Peter Edmiston of The Commercial Appeal writes. “It can get frustrating at some times, but you can’t let it bother you in these situations, because these are the cards we’ve been dealt,” Conley told reporters. “We didn’t count on Marc Gasol getting hurt, we didn’t count on Brandan Wright getting hurt, these things happen and new guys come in, trades happen, we’re here with the guys we have and we have to make the best of the situation.
  • Conley, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, understands patience will be required as new players are worked into roles in the rotation, Edmiston relays in the same piece. “It takes time for guys like Lance Stephenson, Birdman [Chris Andersen] and P.J. Hairston to understand that. I’m telling them after almost every play that we’re basically in that flex stuff — just set a screen, pin down, it’s gonna be in that situation, but it’s easy to forget when you’re going full speed, so it’s tough on them to grasp that in only a week’s time.
  • The Thunder assigned Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary to their D-League affiliate Friday, the team announced via press release. Huestis has appeared in 16 games for the Blue this season, notching 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.19 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game, while McGary has made 17 D-League appearances and is averaging 14.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25.1 minutes per night.

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