Kawhi Leonard, unlikely to play series opener between Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks

Sunday, 21 April 2024 at 13:41
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The clash between the 4th and 5th seeded in the Western Conference promises to be one of the best matchups in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Los Angeles Clippers have the home court advantage against Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks, however, the Clippers squad isn't complete. Kawhi Leonard has been dealing with a persistant knee soreness and he's unlikely to play in game 1 of th series.
Tough news for Ty Lue's squad. Despite the Clippers have a very deep roster, the absense of their franchise player will represent a huge problem. Kawhi's influence on both ends of the floor is off the charts and without him, LA will need for every guy in the team to step up in order to stop Dallas.
The Mavericks arrive to these playoffs in a great form. After the moves made by the trade deadline, Dallas has been playing great basketball, with both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving dominating their opponents. Missing Kawhi will be especially tough on Paul George, who will probably end up guarding Doncic while being his team's primmary offensive weapon.
Leonard's health has been an issue over the lasts seasons. This campaign the two-time NBA champion played a total of 68 games, averaging 23.7 points, shooting 53% from the field, 42% from three and nearly 90% from the free-throw line, simply outstanding.
During the last stretch of the regular season he began to have problems with his right knee. That's the same knee that needed repariring surgery not long ago. Leonard is dealing with a very stubborn inflammation and hasn't participated in any contact practices or played since March 31st.
"I do think, at some point, he’ll be with us," teammate Paul George said Saturday. "Kawhi wants to be in this more than anybody."
"The guys are ready," coach Lue said. "This is what you play for, to get to this moment to have a chance to play for a championship. It’s on everybody to produce."

Increasing doubt about Kawhi Leonard’s availability for start of Clippers’ playoff series vs. Mavericks on Sunday.

Ohm Youngmisuk
Ohm Youngmisuk

Ty Lue says Kawhi Leonard has been shooting and will shoot more today with the team. He has not gone through contact yet.