Western Notes: Nuggets, Fisher, Jordan

The Western Conference playoff picture became a bit clearer on Saturday evening as the Thunder knocked off the Lakers at the Staples Center to take a 3-1 series lead. The Lakers entered the fourth quarter with a nine-point advantage but could not overcome timely shooting from Kevin Durant as they fell 103-100. Let's take a look around the rest of the conference to catch up on the latest stories making headlines on this Sunday morning.

  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post suggests the Nuggets use some of their depth to move up in the draft to acquire Austin Rivers. The team has too many wing players and not enough minutes to go around, which makes some combination of Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler expendable. The Nuggets currently hold the 20th pick in the draft and would need to move up to approximately the 10th slot to have a chance to draft Rivers.
  • The signing of Derek Fisher earlier this season has proven to be a key move for the Thunder as his leadership has been evident in the team's locker room, writes Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. It helps that Fisher, 37, won five rings during his two stints with the Lakers, giving him instant credibility with players like Nick Collison. "It's like having another coach, but he still has the respect of the players. It doesn't feel like he's preaching at you, he just makes a lot of sense."
  • T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times says while DeAndre Jordan is a fun teammate to have around the Clippers organization, he needs to do more on the court to justify his hefty contract. Chris Paul, nearly a foot shorter than Jordan, is averaging the same amount of rebounds per game as the former Texas A&M star (5.0). 

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