Kawhi Leonard once again ‘leading the way’ for LA Clippers, who even series with Utah Jazz at 2-2
LOS ANGELES – Kawhi Leonard blew previous Royce O’Neale and dashed down the alley earlier than throwing an explosive one-handed dunk all through the Utah Jazz Center Derrick Favors.
Leonard’s highly effective slam in the second quarter set the exclamation level in a primary half, through which the LA Clippers led with as much as 29 factors earlier than the night of their Western Conference semifinal series with the Jazz in two video games, every with a 118-104 victory at the Staples Center Monday night time
While the Clippers have gained their second sport in a blowout vogue to provide all of them the momentum, Tyronn Lu’s group travels to Utah with some concern for Leonard’s well being. The Clippers franchisee got here up after driving to the basket whereas being fouled by Joe Ingles with 5:25 remaining in the sport. Leonard leaned ahead earlier than briefly grabbing his proper knee. Leonard left the competitors with 4:35 remaining and didn’t return.
“I’m superb,” stated Leonard solely when requested about his knee. “Next query.”
Lue believes Leonard might be superb for the essential sport in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
“Yes, I believe so,” stated Lue. “We’ll know extra after the sport, however yeah, I believe everyone seems to be fairly good.”
For the second consecutive competitors, jazz had no solutions for Leonard and Paul George. The Clippers All-Stars scored 31 factors every in Game 4. In the first half Leonard had 19 factors, George 15 and Marcus Morris Sr. contributed 22 of his 24 factors. Those three Clippers mixed Utah in the half with 56 to 44 factors.
In Game 3, Leonard had 34 factors whereas George added 31. On Monday, Leonard and George turned the fifth duo since the 1976-77 merger, every with 30 factors in consecutive playoff video games.
“They had been simply on a distinct stage,” stated Donovan Mitchell, who led jazz with 37 factors, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. “And we could not purchase a bucket.”
“We must be the aggressors,” added Mitchell. “You got here out and met first at dwelling each occasions.”
Leonard’s thundering dunk wasn’t simply felt by the jazz at the Staples Center. It reverberated throughout the nation as the Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid reacted in actual time as he held his post-game press convention Monday night time. Embiid was watching a monitor and was impressed with Leonard’s Dunk, which additionally went viral on-line.
“I cannot see the response to what’s on the net or on social media,” stated Leonard, who is understood to not do a lot on social media. “[Ivica Zubac] confirmed me a clip of Embiid talking. “
The dunk wasn’t the solely spotlight Leonard had earlier than leaving the sport. He additionally had a agency block in the third quarter to maintain the Clippers from slouching with their massive lead.
“You can see he is extra aggressive and you realize what time it’s,” stated George of Leonard. “It’s written on him in relation to his go time. It’s playoff basketball, and you realize it wins time. So you see every little thing round him, his strategy, his physique language, every little thing goes to be nice, and so is main he the manner. “
Leonard regarded as explosive as he had all season till he gave the impression to be twitching his knee in the fourth quarter. Leonard stayed in the sport, dedicated one other foul 5 seconds later, however missed two free throws. He later made a few fouls earlier than dropping 107-91 with the Clippers.
Despite not being examined on the bench, Leonard spoke to a coach. The Clippers stored their star out even after Utah closed the deficit on 112-102 with 2:10 remaining.
The Clippers at the moment are two wins away from their very first look in the Western Conference. But the two-time finals MVP is just not fascinated by that at the second.
“I do not care about the closing of the Western Conference,” stated Leonard. “We’re attempting to win the championship. That’s the subsequent step, in fact, however I’m not even wanting at it.”