Kawhi Leonard is missing his third straight match for the Los Angeles Clippers, again delaying his on-court pairing with new teammate Paul George.
George was in the lineup Monday night versus his former team, Oklahoma City, which traded him to the Clippers in the off-season.
Leonard bruised his left knee in a loss at Houston last Wednesday and didn’t play at New Orleans or versus Atlanta last week. Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers says it was “very possible” Leonard was going to play Monday. Rivers has displayed little concern that Leonard will be out long.
“I just know it’s going to happen,” he said of Leonard and George playing together for the first time. Leonard has missed five of the Clippers’ 14 games. When he’s been in the lineup, he’s averaging 26.8 points.
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George has helped mitigate Leonard’s absence, scoring 70 points in 44 minutes in his first two games back. He recorded 18 points on Monday, including a 3-pointer with 25.9 seconds left to put the Clippers up for good.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Leonard is day-to-day after further evaluation on the knee revealed nothing serious.
This all comes shortly after the debate over Leonard’s load management briefly consumed the NBA when the star sat out a nationally televised matchup versus Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Just a few days later, Leonard suffered his injury versus the Rockets.
Leonard was initially listed as questionable heading into the game, but the Clippers might be treating his injury as conservatively as possible. His next opportunity to play will come Wednesday, for a marquee matchup versus the Boston Celtics. At the end Los Angeles Clippers fans are going to have to wait a few more days to finally see Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing together.
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