Clippers star Kawhi Leonard’s warning to NBA as playoffs near

With the 2023 NBA Playoffs fast approaching, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers are hopeful to find two things. First of all, the Clippers desperately need to find a rhythm now that they’re close to healthy. Secondly, the Clippers need to finish in the top six to avoid the play-in tournament.

Another step in a positive direction was taken on Wednesday night as the Clippers defeated the Toronto Raptors, 108-100. Kawhi Leonard finished with 24 points and a season-high 12 rebounds, while Paul George added 23 points and four assists.

The Clippers have been a very tough team to assess throughout the season. The five-game losing streak out of the All-Star break was rough, dropping them from fourth in the West to eighth. Wednesday’s win improved their record to 35-33, bumping them up from eighth to a tie with the Golden State Warriors for the fifth seed.

“Our heads are still high even when we lost those games,” Kawhi Leonard said after the second consecutive win. “We’re still confident in ourselves. And then I’m on the floor and whenever I’m playing, I feel like we can win a basketball game. And I think everybody else feels the same way. Those games came down to the stretch where we kind of beat ourselves and we were able to execute it tonight, being up 10 or whatever, with like two or three minutes left, didn’t really turn over the ball, got shots up. Gives us confidence to carry over to the next game.”

The Clippers are 102-47 all-time when Kawhi Leonard plays, which includes the 25-15 record this season. At 35-33, the team has just 14 games remaining to figure out as much as they can. For Kawhi Leonard, it’s pretty simple what the Clippers need to do.

“Just playing consistent,” Leonard added. “The things we talk about winning a basketball game is coming out with the defensive mindset. Talking, communicating, making sure we know their sets and on the offensive end just limiting our turnovers and executing. And, if we could play hard throughout the whole 48 minutes and have a great defensive game, that would be great. We could live with losses if we could do that, if we’re missing shots on the offensive end. But the defense is what needs to keep moving forward.”

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers are in the midst of a 10-game stretch where they’ll play nine home games. Of the 24 days the Clippers will spend at home, 23 will be at home, and the lone day away will be a few hundred miles north in Portland against the Trail Blazers. On top of that, the Clippers’ remaining strength of schedule is ranked as 16th in the NBA after being ranked in the top three over the last weeks.

The New York Knicks are next up on the schedule for the Clippers after they had their nine-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *