Pacific News: Clippers, Afflalo, Pachulia

The Clippers may be turning the corner, at least as far as their health is concerned. Superstar point guard Chris Paul has missed seven of the last contests but is expected to be back in the lineup uninhibited on Friday, says Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Daily News.

A return from Paul, coupled with news that rookie Brice Johnson has been cleared for contact, will give Clippers head coach Doc Rivers that much more confidence heading into the middle portion of the season. Johnson is a power forward out of North Carolina that Los Angeles drafted with the 25th overall pick last summer.

Additionally, Woike writes that Blake Griffin is expected to make his own return to the Clippers later this month.

Also out of the Pacific Division:

  • It wasn’t long ago when Arron Afflalo‘s future with the Kings looked to be in doubt. Now the veteran has upped his standing in the team’s rotation. “I’ve evolved into getting over myself,” Afflalo told the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones. “We have a great opportunity as a team – playoff position. There will be nights where I can perform at a level I was expected to perform at, and there will be nights where other guys take the lead.”
  • Things haven’t always gone well for Shaun Livingston since he was drafted in 2004, but he’s settled into a great role with a dominant Warriors team. The veteran point guard spoke with Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto about his career thus far and his future. “I’d love to stay [with Golden State].” he said, “It’s been home for me, the Bay has welcomed me with open arms. I love it out there. But, we’ll see what happens. Obviously, decisions have to be made and you just roll with the punches.”
  • The NBA recently changed how All-Stars are to be selected and it’s already foiled Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia‘s second consecutive campaign as a dark horse possibility, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.


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