2021 Playoffs: West Final | Suns vs. Clippers
Knee sprain to keep Kawhi Leonard sidelined for Game 2 of Suns-Clippers
Kawhi Leonard will miss his fourth straight playoff game since suffering a knee injury in the Western Conference semifinals.
From NBA.com News Services
The LA Clippers’ bid for the franchise’s first trip to The Finals will continue without Kawhi Leonard for at least one more game. Leonard was listed as “out” for Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals (9 ET, ESPN) against the Phoenix Suns due to a right knee sprain, per Monday evening’s NBA injury report.
An All-NBA First Team selection this season, Leonard was averaging 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.1 steals while shooting 57.3% overall and 39.3% from 3-point range through 11 playoff games. He has not played since spraining his knee in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Utah.
The Clippers have more injury issues than Leonard. Veteran forward Marcus Morris played just 21 minutes on Sunday because of a sore knee. His status for Game 2 is uncertain.
Morris has been an important part of the Clippers’ offense and defense this season and averaged 13.2 points per game in the second-round series win over the Utah Jazz. Lue said Morris was getting treatment “around the clock.”
“He’s doing everything in his power to be out there tomorrow night,” Lue said.
Lue said he texted with Leonard about 40 minutes before Monday’s news conference and the forward wanted to know about adjustments and strategies for Game 2. Teammates echoed Lue’s story, saying Leonard was in constant contact.
“He’s our leader, he’s our guy, doing everything he can to get healthy,” Clippers guard Luke Kennard said. “Like everyone else has said, he’s behind the scenes, making sure we’re staying ready and locked in on what we need to do. He believes in us.”
All-Star teammate Paul George has raised his game in Leonard’s absence, but scored just one point and shot 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter of LA’s 120-114 Game 1 defeat at Phoenix after scoring 33 through the first three quarters.
The Suns are not without a key injury themselves. Star point guard Chris Paul will not play in Game 2 either as he is out indefinitely after entering the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols before Game 1 of the series.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.