Many NBA fans doubted they’d be able to do it, but the Los Angeles Clippers managed to take care of business in the Western Conference semifinals without having Kawhi Leonard for the last two games of the series.
Obviously the Clippers would like to have Leonard back in the lineup for the Western Conference finals. However, the latest update on the two-time NBA champion isn’t very encouraging.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Leonard will not travel with the team to Phoenix for Game 1. He’s still rehabbing from the ACL injury he suffered in Game 4 against Utah.
Leonard’s status for the rest of the Clippers’ series with the Suns is unknown at this time. The odds of him suiting up in Game 2 are pretty slim though since he’s still in Los Angeles getting work done on his knee.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 19, 2021
As long as Leonard is out of the Clippers’ lineup, Tyronn Lue will have to come up with creative lineups that can exploit their opponent’s weakness.
During the Clippers-Jazz series, we saw Nicolas Batum, Reggie Jackson and Terrance Mann all received extended minutes. Mann saved his best performance of his NBA career for the right time, as he exploded for 39 points in Game 6.
It’s worth noting the Clippers aren’t the only ones wondering if their star player will return for the Western Conference finals. The Suns are still waiting to see when Chris Paul will be available. He currently remains in health and safety protocols.
Game 1 of the Western Conference finals is Sunday, as tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.