Clippers: 1 player helped, 2 players hurt by Kawhi Leonard’s injury

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Clippers, Patrick Beverley
Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

There were rumors running around yesterday about LA Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard possibly playing tonight.

Unfortunately, however, he ended up being ruled out for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. This will be his eighth straight playoff game missed, and there are Clippers who are going to need to step up in his absence.

The whole team will realistically need to step up, and there’s a certain Clipper that actually will see a potential benefit to his individual performance due to Leonard‘s injury. Two Clippers in particular, will have it a lot tougher due to the continued absence.

1 player for the LA Clippers helped by Kawhi Leonard’s injury: Patrick Beverley

Patrick Beverley has been a monster on defense in this postseason for the LA Clippers with Kawhi Leonard out.

In Game 2, he got the start, and immediately flustered Devin Booker. In typical Patrick Beverley fashion, he seemed to be a pest towards Booker. Booker was held to just 20 points on 5 of 16 shooting.

This is after a Game 1 performance where Booker had a triple-double, 40 points, and shot 15 of 29 from the field (three of seven from three). Starting Beverley immediately made a drastic difference, and put Beverley right back on the big stage that he had lost earlier in the postseason a little bit.

If Kawhi was playing, Beverley would not have that chance. It’s obviously not good for the Clippers that Kawhi is out, but it gave Beverley more of an opportunity to have success on defense in extended playing time.

Bev ran with it, and was a major contributor to the Suns’ backcourt being 41 of 125 (32.8%) from the field, and 7 of 34 (20.6%) from three in Games 3 through 5.

If Kawhi Leonard was on the court, he’d obviously be the one making moves on defense vs. Phoenix’s best players, and Pat Bev wouldn’t have the opportunities he’s had recently. His individual performance actually has a chance to keep improving without Kawhi, and he better take advantage of it tonight.