Kawhi Leonard Out
After what was shaping up to be another resume-building playoff run, the Clippers’ superstar forward has been ruled out for Game 5 and could potentially miss the rest of Round 2, according to Brian Windhorst. With Kawhi Leonard out, LAC will have to turn to their other All-Star, Paul George, and key role players to win two of the next three games if they want to keep their season alive.
Kawhi Leonard Out: 2021 Playoff Run
The two-time Finals MVP has seen his team struggle in these playoffs, finding themselves in three different series deficits so far through one and a half rounds. After losing two home games to go down 0-2 to the Mavericks, the Clippers fought back into the series only to go down 3-2, again losing on their home court.
Enter Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi’s Game 6 in the first round will go down as one of the all-time great Clippers, and NBA, playoff performances of all time. He put up 45 points on an absurd 72% from the field, 56% from behind the arc, and 100% from the charity stripe. Along with god-like efficiency, he also poured in 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in his 42 minutes of action.
Kawhi Leonard Out: Full Stats
In Round 1, Kawhi averaged an incredibly 32.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.3 SPG, and 1.0 BPG to lead the Clippers out of two separate deficits against the Dallas Mavericks. He showed stretches of elite defense on Luka Doncic down the stretch of big games, holding Luka to his worst scoring average of any quarter in the series during the 4th quarter.
Round 2 started as déjà vu for the Clippers, again finding themselves down 0-2, this time the 1-seeded Utah Jazz. The biggest difference was that both of these losses came on the road, leaving them in a better position to win Games 3 and 4 on their home court, which they did. Unfortunately, Leonard was bumped by Joe Ingles in an attempt to stop a fast break opportunity, and in the process landed poorly on his right knee, causing immediate visible discomfort. Leonard tried to stay in the game, and even shot four more free throws, but was eventually forced to the bench down the stretch.
In the first four games of Round 2, Leonard averaged 27.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.8 SPG while shooting 50.6% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 84.6% FT.
With Kawhi Leonard out, it is now up to Paul George and the rest of the team to help the Clippers advance to Round 2 after tying the series with Utah at two wins apiece.
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