Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard Reacts to Playing His First Back-to-Back Since 2017

Published 01/07/2021, 5:13 AM EST
Jan 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles the ball next to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the second quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


For the first time in over 1300 days, LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard played back-to-back games. The last time he did so was back in 2017 when the Spurs played the Grizzlies and the Lakers. Last night against the Warriors, he was their best player.

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Leonard shot 7-12 from the field and led the Clippers with 21 points. Although he failed to make a three-pointer, he went a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line. It was a dull offensive game, but Leonard did his best to lead his team to the win. He played 35 minutes against the Warriors, after playing 37 minutes in the previous game against the Spurs.

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When asked if he will play in more back-to-back games in the rest of the season, Leonard said, “I think I’ll be playing. The last few years I was injured, working on getting my legs stronger. Been a long time, but I am able to play… my body is prepared. I felt good.”

Can Kawhi Leonard lead the Clippers to a better regular-season performance?

Last season, after being named as the favorites ahead of their rivals Lakers, they fell to the second seed behind them. They edged out the Nuggets in the end, and barely took hold of the #2 spot. That set them up for a perfect Western Conference Finals showdown with the Lakers, but that never happened.

This time, the Clippers will be aiming to do better right from the regular season. If Leonard is aiming to play maximum games, their #1 priority has to keep him healthy and ready for the playoffs.

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A healthy Kawhi Leonard is always good for the league. His inability to play 70-80 games in the regular season is one of the main reasons he was kept out of the MVP races. But if he is able to play consistently while leading the Clippers to the top of the Western Conference, he would be a serious contender for the award.

Jan 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) holds onto the ball next to Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) in the first quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard has always been a team player who doesn’t bother about individual awards. But an MVP award would cement his position as one of the best players of his generation. Not many players offer what he does on both ends in the league.

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Aaron Mathew

1643 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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