Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard sits out against Atlanta Hawks

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 And when Leonard and George finally do step on the hardwood together, how will they fare with so little on-court familiarity?Related Articlescenter_img Harkless, for one, wasn’t too worried about it: “They’re two great players,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out.”HARRELL DOES HEAVY LIFTINGEven with Ivica Zubac showing marked improvement early in his fourth NBA season, the Clippers have leaned heavily on Montrezl Harrell — and the 25-year-old undersized center, who’s on the final year of his contract, has shouldered the load with characteristic, Herculean vigor.Still, he’s human, and there’s a question about whether all the time spent banging in the post might wear him down.Harrell entered Saturday averaging 30.8 minutes per game, including 37 minutes, 44 seconds against Houston on Wednesday and 36:25 on Thursday in New Orleans. The 7-foot Zubac, meanwhile, played only 10:16 against the Rockets and 11:35 against the Pelicans, who outrebounded the Clippers 51-37.Rivers said he’s turned so often to Harrell, the Clippers’ 6-foot-7 “big,” in a search of some of that so-far-elusive continuity.“What’s one of the best one-two combinations in the league? Trezz and Lou (Williams),” Rivers said. “So when Lou’s on the floor, you feel like you should try to have Trezz on the floor as much as you can. They are a pretty good combination.“You try to keep those two on the floor … if Paul’s off the floor or if Kawhi’s off the floor. It’ll be a lot easier when they’re both playing, then you won’t have that issue, and (Williams’ and Harrell’s) minutes will go down.” LOS ANGELES — The Kawhi Leonard-Paul George dream eventually will transpire on the court, just not against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.Until it comes true, the Clippers are doing their best to adjust to playing with only one superstar at a time.Including George’s home debut Saturday, Kawhi Leonard has missed four games, and two in a row. After previously holding the two-time NBA Finals MVP out for load management meant to ease stress on his sore left knee, the Clippers ruled him out Saturday with a left knee contusion.The steadily fluctuating lineup early in the season hasn’t helped continuity for the Clippers, who were 7-5 and had lost two consecutive entering Saturday, when they also played without Patrick Beverley, sidelined for the second game with a sore left calf. “You won’t have (continuity) for a while, but that’s OK,” Rivers said. “There’s no way we could have continuity right now. We’ve had one live practice with Pat, Kawhi, Sham (Landry Shamet), Paul George on the floor. One. I’m talking training camp as well. So, you’re not gonna have any continuity right now.”To counter that, Rivers said, the Clippers are trying to establish continuity with the sets they run in shootarounds and in practice, which will be further limited by playing a game every other day during the five-game homestand that tipped off Saturday.As for the players running those sets, it’s made for some extra figuring, but it’s also created opportunities that could prove beneficial later.“It’s a challenge every night when things aren’t really consistent on a night-to-night basis, but it’s not a bad thing,” Clippers forward Moe Harkless said. “We all have to figure it out, and I think not having Paul early, it may have helped other guys’ development, (and) not having Kawhi on some nights, it helps other guys build their confidence as well.“Rodney (McGruder) hitting five 3s the other night, who knows if that would have happened if Kawhi would have played? And that’s big for our team moving forward. It’s November, and we got a long season ahead, and we got a lot of time to find our rhythm, so I don’t think anyone’s worried.” Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates last_img

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