Will Kawhi Leonard Play Tonight? LA Clippers vs Miami Heat: Team News, Lineups, and Predictions

Published 01/28/2021, 12:00 PM EST
Dec 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) celebrates with forward Serge Ibaka (9) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during a timeout in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers take on the Miami Heat, in what could have been the NBA Finals from last year. So far, the Clippers have been in excellent form this year. Paul George is playing at an MVP level, and Kawhi Leonard has been excellent as well. The Clippers have continued to build chemistry with each passing game that they have played.

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Meanwhile, the Miami Heat have not lived up to their potential. Several injuries have left the squad depleted, and they have lost several games to teams that they were able to handily beat last season. Right now, the Miami Heat sits with a 6-11 record toward the bottom of the conference. Last year’s NBA finalists could miss the playoffs at this rate.

With that in mind, take a look at the Heat taking on the Clippers.

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LA Clippers – Team News

Dec 27, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) sat on the bench for the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers will be without several key stars. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are set to miss the game in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. Patrick Beverley is also listed as unavailable going into the game. The mainstays of the Clippers that are expected to play are only Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, and Lou Williams.

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Predicted Lineup: Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka

Miami Heat – Team News

Jan 23, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) dribbles the ball as center Bam Adebayo (13) runs a pick against Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (middle) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat are also struggling with injuries to key players. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Goran Dragic are all unavailable as of now. Additionally, Myers Leonard and Maurice Harkless also missed the game against the Denver Nuggets due to injuries.

Predicted Lineup: Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

LA Clippers vs Miami Heat

Dec 27, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Serge Ibaka (right) is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (11) in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams walk into the game without their best players. However, the Heat’s injury concerns are far more strenuous than that of the Clippers. The Clippers are known for their depth and should be able to compensate for the absences of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

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Prediction: The LA Clippers beat the Miami Heat, even without Kawhi and PG-13

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Can the Miami Heat spark an upset over the Clippers? Without their star players, it will be a significant challenge. But given that the Clippers are also missing their best players, this is the best chance Miami has to defeat a solid playoff team.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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