Kawhi to Clips: ‘Have fun,’ don’t rush title chase

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LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard reached the midway level of the season for the LA Clippers along with his maximum explosive sport, scoring 43 issues in slightly below 29 mins Tuesday evening at Staples Middle.

However after serving to the Clippers briefly bust out in their contemporary funk and make fast paintings of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 128-103 rout, Leonard’s thoughts appeared to be on profitable a championship and reminding his teammates simply how onerous it’s to get to the top of June and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Leonard many times mentioned how the Clippers (28-13) wish to decelerate and now not be in a rush to get to the place they hope to be.

“We simply cannot be in a hurry,” Leonard mentioned when requested about how essential it’s for the Clippers to have continuity at this level of the season. “That is what I am [telling them]. Simply be affected person. It is onerous to win a championship. The power is not even on us now. Simply benefit from the procedure and feature amusing.”

It without a doubt shall be so much more straightforward for Document Rivers and the Clippers when Leonard is feeling this manner. Leonard mentioned he was once getting more potent along with his well being trending up of overdue, and he supplied the Cavaliers evidence of that.

The All-Celebrity ahead buried 14 of his 22 pictures, together with 6-of-10 from 3-point vary. He additionally made 9-of-10 from the loose throw line to attain no less than 40 within the first 3 quarters for the primary time in his occupation. Leonard didn’t play within the fourth.

Even if he completed shy of his occupation prime of 45 issues, Leonard has damaged the 40-point barrier two times in his previous 12 video games. He additionally had 42 issues and 11 rebounds on Dec. 13 on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I were given out of the sport, and he had 40 and made that Three for 43, and I used to be like, ‘When did he get 43?'” mentioned Clippers middle Ivica Zubac, who had 12 issues and 10 rebounds whilst serving to to carry Tristan Thompson scoreless in 23 mins. “It is similar to he will get issues and you do not even understand how did he get them. It is particular to play with a participant like that.”

Leonard scored 17 issues within the 3rd quarter to push the Clippers’ lead from 13 to 35.

However after changing into most effective the 3rd participant to attain 43 or extra issues in underneath 29 mins within the shot clock generation, in line with analysis through the Elias Sports activities Bureau, Leonard sought after to stay the focal point on his staff and the way it must benefit from the highs and lows of the season.

The Clippers have performed inconsistent basketball, going 8-6 of their previous 14 video games. There were injured avid gamers out and in — similar to Paul George (hamstring) lacking 4 of the previous 5 video games — and a loss of apply time because of the Clippers’ daunting time table early on.

However Leonard continues to evangelise persistence. He is aware of how a lot more there’s to move to succeed in the NBA Finals after his lengthy identify run with the Toronto Raptors remaining season.

“It takes a complete staff to win video games, win championships,” Leonard mentioned of six Clippers scoring in double figures and opening issues up for him on Tuesday. “It is not received through one man [or] two avid gamers — it is the complete 15.”

“The ones are the issues that I inform them: Do not be in a hurry to win those video games,” Leonard added. “Revel in each second of it. Benefit from the procedure and use it as a finding out instrument while you get down within the trenches.”

Clips booed amid rout: ‘We’re not a great team’

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LOS ANGELES — Down 24 on the finish of the 3rd quarter to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, the LA Clippers heard their first boos of the sport, ahead of strolling off their house flooring on the finish to extra jeers.

Announcing they were given what they deserved for simply appearing up for an early 12: 30 p.m. PT get started time and pondering they’d win, the Clippers have been embarrassed by means of the Grizzlies 140-114 in an alarming loss at house.

“We aren’t a perfect workforce,” ahead Montrezl Harrell stated when requested how a perfect workforce maintains a favorable mindset. “That is, I feel, something that you simply all wish to get out your minds. We aren’t a perfect workforce. We simply [came] in combination this yr. We’ve two avid gamers that have not been part of this workforce. We’ve a participant who gained an NBA championship with an entire ‘nother workforce final yr.

“So we aren’t a perfect workforce, that is No. 1 proper there,” Harrell endured. “That is what we wish to notice and get up. We are nonetheless a workforce that wishes to determine issues we wish to do to win, evening in and evening out.”

Harrell, who led the Clippers with 28 issues and 9 rebounds, was once additionally requested concerning the vibe within the locker room.

“I have no idea, brother,” Harrell answered. “I have no idea. And that could be every other downside proper there.”

Even if they have been with out starters Paul George (left hamstring tightness) and Patrick Beverley (sprained proper wrist) on Saturday, the Clippers were inconsistent and have not performed their best possible since taking an impressed 111-106 victory on Christmas evening in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers (25-12) misplaced for simply the fourth time at house, however the 140 issues was once essentially the most a Kawhi Leonard workforce has ever surrendered.

“We now have had numerous wake-up calls [this season],” stated Leonard, who scored 24 issues however shot simply 8-for-24 and was once assessed a technical foul at halftime for disagreeing with an legit over a non-call. “I think love it’s the center of the season and probably the most errors that we’re making, we should not be making at the moment.

“We going to stay getting higher,” Leonard added. “I think like guys need to win and get well. I think like we’re nonetheless going to get well.”

The Clippers are 14-Four this season when Leonard and George each play. However together with Saturday’s loss, the Clippers are simply 11-Eight when one in every of their All-Stars is out. Clippers trainer Document Rivers stated this can be a fear that the workforce has had a complete wholesome roster to be had most effective as soon as all season, in opposition to the Lakers on Christmas, with avid gamers shuffling out and in on account of accidents and little to no observe time because of the agenda.

The Clippers are 2-2 since their Christmas victory and 5-Five of their previous 10 video games.

“I am not alarmed as a result of our document is terrific,” Rivers stated. “I simply do not suppose at this time we are able but and I see that. I simply don’t need us to suppose we are excellent sufficient but. As a result of we aren’t. That is what I used to be announcing ahead of the sport. I [just] did not suppose I’d be proper nowadays, even though.”

The Clippers play once more at house Sunday in every other 12: 30 p.m. PT tip in opposition to the New York Knicks, and so they know in the event that they take the Knicks calmly, they might listen extra boos from the house fanatics.

“Both we get up and determine it out at this time,” Harrell stated, “or we are simply gonna have a complete up-and-down season for the entire yr.”

When requested if he is feeling a way of urgency, Harrell added: “I’m. Us as a workforce, that are supposed to wake you up, to surrender 20-plus issues on your house court docket flooring and get embarrassed, have your house [crowd] booing you strolling off the ground, that are supposed to wake anyone up.”

Sources: Clips’ Beverley to miss multiple games

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LOS ANGELES — LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is predicted to leave out a couple of video games with a proper wrist sprain, league assets advised ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

The Clippers already dominated out Beverley for Tuesday afternoon’s sport at Sacramento because of the damage the purpose guard suffered Saturday right through a 120-107 loss to Utah.

Beverley instantly took himself out of the sport early within the 3rd quarter after taking a spill on his proper arm whilst making an attempt a riding layup towards Rudy Gobert with 10: 15 left within the quarter. Beverley underwent X-rays, which confirmed no destroy in his proper wrist, and he returned and began the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, Clippers trainer Document Rivers mentioned Beverley had issue greedy the basketball, and the purpose guard looked at with 8: 06 left and didn’t go back.

Rivers used to be involved Beverley’s damage may just stay him out for extra video games. Beverley averages Eight issues and six rebounds this season.

“We knew there used to be no destroy, however that does not imply he’s going to be out or no longer,” Rivers mentioned Saturday after the sport. “… He obviously felt like he may just no longer even seize the ball, so that’s not a just right signal.”

“I am involved a bit of bit about what the damage is,” Rivers added.

The Clippers had been additionally coping with a number of flu-stricken gamers. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Montrezl Harrell had been sick Saturday, with Harrell leaving the world an hour prior to the sport. The Clippers didn’t checklist any of the 3 on their damage file for Tuesday’s sport.

Kawhi: Clips, Lakers different teams since opener

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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — It’ll be 65 days for the reason that Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers remaining confronted every different.

And when the 2 groups take to the Staples Middle flooring once more on Christmas, Kawhi Leonard expects each to seem very other than they did on opening evening.

“It was once simply the primary sport of the season, everyone was once simply looking to get of their rhythm,” Leonard mentioned of the primary assembly that the Clippers took 112-102 on Oct. 22. “I feel they were given [Kyle] Kuzma again enjoying and now we were given Paul [George], so it is gonna be two other groups.

“We have been via a adventure until Christmas. It is a other matchup.”

The remaining time the Clippers and Lakers noticed every different, George was once in a tuxedo-like jacket at the bench as he neglected all of coaching camp and the primary 11 video games as he made his long ago from surgical procedures on his shoulders. After additionally now not having Leonard play in a whole back-to-back all season because of his knee, and having to handle different accidents to function avid gamers like Landry Shamet, the Clippers (22-10) are after all complete coming into Christmas.

Head trainer Document Rivers mentioned Tuesday’s Christmas Eve apply was once the primary one the workforce has had all season with a complete roster to be had and wholesome. Rivers appeared extra fascinated with that than the highly-anticipated Christmas sport that the entire town of Los Angeles and far of the NBA has waited to look.

“That is the town,” Rivers mentioned after Tuesday’s apply of the anticipation heading into this showdown. “We’ve not been looking forward to the following day. We commence looking forward to the following day these days. We have needed to get during the different video games, so now we will be able to center of attention at the Christmas sport.”

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2: 10

Rachel Nichols sits down with Paul George to speak about what it approach to him to play for the Clippers on Christmas Day.

Rivers mentioned Leonard and his workforce don’t seem to be coping with any distractions, together with a tale via The Athletic, which reported that Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, made requests all through loose company when Leonard was once taking into account the Clippers, Lakers and Toronto Raptors that made the Lakers really feel uncomfortable.

A number of the reported requests had been a stake in possession and a non-public airplane.

“I have no idea. I did not learn it, so I do not know the way dependable it’s,” Leonard mentioned when requested concerning the file after apply. “I should not have no wisdom of it… folks make up tales on a daily basis.”

Rivers mentioned the NBA robotically investigated the Clippers after their free-agent signing of Leonard to a three-year, $103-million deal.

“They examine yearly,” Rivers mentioned. “… Once a year, somebody indicators, there may be going to be an investigation. That is wonderful. The bottom line is as soon as you are transparent. From what I do know, I don’t believe we had been the one ones. The NBA investigated [other] groups. I have no idea that [exact amount]. However I do know there was once multiple. We must. That is what we need to do and ensure issues are carried out proper. The NBA mentioned it was once.”

Leonard signed with the Clippers, who additionally traded 5 first-round choices, two first-round select swaps and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to Oklahoma Town for George again in July.

Now Leonard will get to look what the Clippers will seem like with George towards the Lakers (24-6) and LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“We are nonetheless looking to get the hold of one another,” Leonard mentioned of the Clippers getting more healthy and growing chemistry. “I imply, we are nonetheless in a excellent place, we nonetheless were given a large number of expansion, and I feel everyone is aware of that. However now not complacent and that is the reason what is gonna make us a greater workforce.”

Clips dunk all over Spurs in Kawhi’s first win back

11:05 PM ETESPN News Services SAN ANTONIO — The LA Clippers dunked on the San Antonio Spurs more times than any team in 20 years en route to Kawhi Leonard’s first victory in San Antonio since his exodus from the franchise.Leonard finished with 26 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five of the Clippers’ 20…

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SAN ANTONIO — The LA Clippers dunked at the San Antonio Spurs extra occasions than any group in 20 years en path to Kawhi Leonard’s first victory in San Antonio since his exodus from the franchise.

Leonard completed with 26 issues, 9 assists, seven rebounds and 5 of the Clippers’ 20 dunks as LA dusted the Spurs 134-109 on Saturday evening.

“He used to be as sharp as I have observed him,” Los Angeles trainer Document Rivers mentioned. “Now not most effective together with his scoring, however together with his protection and his passing.”

The Clippers’ 20 overall dunks are essentially the most since play-by-play knowledge began monitoring the stat prior to the 1996-97 season. The second one very best used to be 17 dunks by way of the Lakers in April 1998, in step with ESPN Stats & Knowledge analysis.

Leonard used to be roundly booed all through pregame introductions and every time he touched the ball, simply as he used to be in two earlier visits to San Antonio. The reigning Finals MVP gave the sellout crowd lots to jeer about all through an energetic 27 mins.

Leonard used to be 11-for-16 from the sector with 4 steals and most effective two turnovers in atmosphere a moved quickly tempo the Spurs have been not able to check.

The Clippers had 74 issues within the paint, 26 fast-break issues and 36 issues off 18 turnovers.

“It is embarrassing,” mentioned Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, who had 24 issues. “It is irritating, particularly if you end up in the market making an attempt laborious, certainly irritating.”

Leonard benefited from the higher tempo, slamming in his season-high 5 dunks.

“I used to be in a position to get out in transition, particularly get down the paint and in a position to dunk the ball,” Leonard mentioned.

Leonard demanded a industry after enjoying simply 9 video games for the Spurs in 2018 because of a proper thigh damage. San Antonio relented and traded him the following summer season to Toronto, the place he led the Raptors to their first NBA championship final season.

Spurs enthusiasts have remained sour about his pressured departure, making the group’s blowout victories over Leonard and the Raptors final season and the Clippers on Nov. 29 that a lot sweeter.

“Simply the best way I most certainly left and the way it used to be portrayed, the narrative that used to be portrayed within the media,” Leonard mentioned. “However, I do not make no sense of it. I understand it’s a recreation and it is aggressive. When we aren’t enjoying or if I am strolling in the street or I see somebody from San Antonio, they thank me for the whole lot I did and so they recognize the best way I performed when I used to be right here. It is simply part of the sport, I believe like.”

Leonard grew to become the tables in his 5th matchup with San Antonio, spending all of the fourth quarter at the bench as Los Angeles stretched its result in 33.

The Clippers went on a 12-2 run for a 52-44 lead with 7 mins left within the first part as Leonard and Paul George remained at the bench.

Leonard returned in a while thereafter, making all 3 of his makes an attempt in the second one quarter to push the Clippers to a 64-52 lead.

The Clippers outscored the Spurs 41-21 bridging the second one and 3rd quarters.

Los Angeles had six avid gamers in double figures, together with 21 by way of Montrezl Harrell and 20 by way of Lou Williams. George completed with 11 issues.

DeRozan, who had 13 issues on 6-for-7 capturing within the first quarter, completed with 24 issues to steer San Antonio. Marco Belinelli added 17 issues.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Former Spurs F JaMychal Inexperienced ignored the sport with a bruised tailbone. … Landry Shamet had 3 issues in 14 mins in his 3rd recreation off the bench after 13 begins.

Spurs: F Rudy Homosexual had seven issues in 20 mins after being indexed as questionable because of an undisclosed sickness. … C Jakob Poeltl had 4 blocked photographs, elevating his season overall to 41 in 28 video games. … San Antonio is 73-15 towards the Clippers at house.

BACK TO BACK

Leonard has no longer performed in back-to-back video games this season, and Rivers mentioned that would possibly not trade when the Clippers talk over with Oklahoma Town on Sunday evening in spite of his restricted mins towards the Spurs.

“I have never even considered it, however we’re going to see. I doubt it,” Rivers mentioned. “Simply too early for me, to be truthful. He would possibly deliver it up, however I nonetheless do not assume we’re going to do it.”

UP NEXT

Clippers: At Oklahoma Town on Sunday evening.

Spurs: At Memphis on Monday evening.

The Related Press contributed to this document.