Kawhi Leonard’s Problem Isn’t the Same as James Harden’s as the Latter Once Got Blunt About His Body

Published 12/31/2023, 12:31 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The Clippers have been top of their game this season, having lost only two of the last 13 games. James Harden‘s presence has made a huge impact on the team. From enduring a six-game losing streak to now leading the Pacific Division, the Clippers’ change in tides is thanks to Harden for the most part. Harden especially has been a huge aid for Kawhi Leonard, who can play defense without wearing himself out because big man Harden gives him the time to rest during games.

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Kawhi has now missed four straight games due to a left hip contusion and his current status shows a day-to-day basis. Harden has been putting in extra minutes to fill in for Kawhi, but the 7X All-NBA star doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

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Before landing in the Clippers, Harden’s situation with the Sixers was tense, following his demand for a trade. He missed a good chunk of the beginning of the season as trade talks were in motion. During this time, the veteran told The Athletic, “I know how to take care of my body; I’m 15 years in.” Despite missing the games, Harden had full confidence that his body hadn’t worn out yet due to the dormancy.

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And now, this rings true as he is putting in extra work on the court in Kawhi’s absence, and he is unbothered about the strain his body is going through. The Beard still has a lot of fuel in his tank and he is assertive that his body will pull through thanks to his 15 years of experience playing in the NBA. Kawhi, on the other hand, isn’t on the same page as he deals with his injuries.

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Kawhi has lucked out this past few seasons in terms of health

Up until his hip injury on December 20 during the Mavericks game, Kawhi had a perfect record of not missing any games this season. He has been on the questionable list ever since and his day of return is uncertain. These last two years have been riddled with injuries for the 5X All-NBA star, having to endure multiple injuries that included tearing his meniscus and his ACL.

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Kawhi has played only 52 games each in the last two seasons and there is no guarantee that this season, too, wouldn’t turn south for him. His health and contributions are detrimental to the Clippers’ chance of a Championship and toning down his proneness to injury right about now could be the final piece of the puzzle for the Clippers.

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Written by:

Tsuktibenla T Jamir

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Tsuktibenla T Jamir is an NBA author at EssentiallySports. Armed with a Masters in Journalism from the prestigious Delhi School of Journalism, this Nagaland native combines her academic prowess with her passion for the game to craft compelling narratives that bring the NBA to life. She finds immense joy in dissecting the journeys of the athletes who make the game larger than life.
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Edited by:

Ruth John

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