‘Very Concerning’: Kawhi Leonard Expresses Disappointment Over Clippers’ Poor Form

Published 03/15/2021, 2:09 AM EDT
Feb 2, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers were saved by the bell when the All-Star break began. They were on a three-game losing streak and desperately needed a break to regroup. Since returning, they won their first game, but tonight against the Pelicans, they were back to their losing ways. Despite having both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, their performance was still lackluster.

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The Pelicans thrashed the Clippers 135-115 and were merciless in their onslaught. The Clippers’ defense failed to contain the 11th seed Pelicans, who shot an absurd 65% as a team. This was a surprising result after the Clippers similarly thrashed the Warriors on Thursday.

During the post-game interview, Leonard addressed his concerns regarding their inconsistent displays.

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“It’s very concerning. If we want to have a chance at anything, you gotta be consistent. That’s what the great teams do.”

Kawhi Leonard’s passive play on offense and lack of defense killed the game

The biggest reason for their loss was the lack of defensive effort. They felt the absence of Patrick Beverley and would have done a better job with him. But if the team relies on only him to contain offenses, then they will be in trouble.

In the last five seasons, only three teams have managed to shoot 65% from the field. The Pelicans were one of them. For a team like the Clippers, who have pride in their defense, they need to improve a lot.

Leonard’s passive performance on offense also hurt them. He shot just 13 shots all game, and despite making nine of them, he failed to take charge when needed. If the team is in such a situation, he has to step up.

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Can the Clippers return to their best?

While the Jazz took an early leap and reached the top of the Western Conference, the Clippers were keeping pace initially. They looked like the second-best team in the West ahead of their rivals Lakers.

Both George and Leonard had an excellent start to the season, which propelled them to the second-best record in the West. But as Leonard mentioned during the interview, inconsistencies have killed their form.

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Mar 14, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) react to a play from the bench against New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers need to find that form they had earlier in the season, or find themselves in the fourth spot when the season ends. The Suns, Lakers, and the Jazz are having better seasons so the Clippers need to improve right now.

 

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Aaron Mathew

1525 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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