Will Kawhi Leonard Play Tonight? Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Clippers: Injury News, Lineup & Predictions

Published 01/15/2021, 3:30 PM EST
Dec 30, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) puts on a protect mask as he reenters the game during the second quarter at Staples Center. Leonard wore a the mask in his first game back after sustaining an injury when he was hit in the face with an elbow. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Clippers travel to Sacramento with a 2-game winning streak. They lie 2nd in the Western Conference Table (8-4 record) in contrast to the 12th position of their Pacific Division rivals (5-7 record).

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Date: Friday 10 pm Eastern Standard Time

Venue: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

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Preview | Sacramento Kings

After starting the season on a winning note with a 3-1 record, the Kings are back to their familiar losing territory. The Luke-Walton-coached team was looking like a playoff contender, but it looks like they may not banish their demons anytime soon.

However, the individual form of some of their key players is a positive. Buddy Hield is making history with Sacramento with threes made in a record consecutive 78 games. Can he continue that streak against the tight defense of the Clippers?

Predicted Starting 5 for the Sacramento Kings

Guard – Buddy Hield

Guard – De’Aaron Fox

Center – Richaun Holmes

Forward – Marvin Bagley III

Forward – Harrison Barnes

Preview | Los Angeles Clippers

Ah, the noisy neighbors of the Lakers. The Clippers are finding some good form right now, but they are still susceptible to that occasional flop. Not bucking the trend from their nightmare playoffs against the Nuggets, they surrendered a 22-point lead to GSW.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue talks with Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

But the bigger concern for them coming into this game is the questionable fitness of Lou Williams. His hip has been bothering him and he was restricted to just nine minutes against the Pelicans. It might make sense to have him rest for this encounter against an unfancied opponent.

Also, Kawhi Leonard may take the night off as well. The ‘Klaw’ is notorious for his load management hypothesis. But since this allows him to peak in the playoffs, Ty Lue may not bat an eyelid.

Predicted Starting 5 for the Los Angeles Clippers

Guard – Patrick Beverley

Guard – Paul George

Center – Serge Ibaka

Forward – Nicolas Batum

Forward – Marcus Morris Sr.

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Pick | Kings vs Clippers

It is hard to pick anyone but the Clippers as the favorite for this matchup. Even without the likes of Leonard and Williams, they are likely to emerge victorious, and most of that will be down to the way that Paul George has been playing.

Jan 8, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) drives to the basket past Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (8) during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Totally counting the Kings may not so smart, but in hindsight, it is hard to see any other winner.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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