Clippers need a better version of Kawhi Leonard to win Game 3

?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia times sp 0423 clippers mavs 18 rcg

His answer was short and straight to the point.

The Clippers lost Game 2 to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night at Arena and in the process lost the home-court advantage in the Western Conference best-of-seven playoff series that’s now tied at 1-1.

Clippers coach Ty Lue was emphatic about what his team needs to do Friday night in Dallas.

“Win Game 3,” Lue said late Tuesday night after his crew’s three-point loss.

For that to happen, the Clippers will need a better version of the Kawhi Leonard they got in Game 2. He had not played in almost three weeks, the inflammation in his right knee keeping the Clippers’ best player out the previous nine games.

It was clear he was not in sync.

Leonard wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t great, unable to play at the high standards that made him one of the best two-way players in the NBA.

He missed 10 of his 17 shots and all five of his three pointers, finishing with 15 points.

“I want to just be able to get a rhythm with the team and get a win,” Leonard said Tuesday night.

Leonard’s teammates have the utmost faith in him.

He hadn’t played in a game since March 31, his timing off, his conditioning not at its best against the Mavericks.

“I mean, y’all know this: Kawhi is one of the best in the world. He’s going to find his rhythm,” Paul George said after scoring 22 points in Game 2. “We’re going to find our rhythm around him. We feel good about it despite … I don’t ever like to take or look at the moral victories. We lost, which is frustrating and upsetting, but it is great having … [Leonard] back out there with us and we’ll all adjust. We’ll get our timing back, our rhythm back and getting a better flow.”

Even the practices the Clippers had didn’t allow Leonard to get into game shape because he didn’t participate in the contact part of the sessions.

Still, Leonard apparently did enough to get him back on the court.

“I’ve just been rehabbing and trying to get on the floor,” he said. “But we still got more games to play, more time to get better and that’s what I’m focused on.”

The Clippers’ next two playoff games will be in Dallas, with Game 3 Friday night and Game 4 Sunday afternoon.

The Clippers lost the first two playoff games at home to the Mavericks in 2021, but rallied back to win the series in seven games.

So, with the 2024 postseason tied at a game apiece, the Clippers are unafraid of the challenge in front of them.

The guys we got in the locker room gives me the confidence,” George said. “The guys we got in the locker room, TLue, and we’re back full strength. So, I thought we played well. We gave ourselves, again, a chance to win tonight, which is great. It’s what you ask for. It’s all confidence going into Dallas. We’ll do our job. Steal one. That’s the only thing you got to look at. Take it one game at a time. Look at Game 3. There is an opportunity to still win and go from there.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top