Leonard’s sensational impact boosts the Clippers to a win

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

As the LA Clippers completed their road trip, things went differently than expected. While they may have taken the win over Houston, their loss to the Dallas Mavericks showed fans the strengths and weaknesses of the Clippers roster. However, these weaknesses are understandable, as the team has been battling injuries. As a result, the rotations are inconsistent, making it challenging to improve chemistry.

Moreover, the LA Clippers recently won their ninth game against the Detroit Pistons. The team struggled with turnovers and knocking down shots from start to finish. Fortunately for head coach Tyronn Lue, the Pistons also struggled to shoot the ball, making the offensive game plan much more manageable.

Additionally, franchise centerpiece Kawhi Leonard made his highly anticipated return after not playing a game since October 23rd. He ended the game with six points, five rebounds, and four assists on only eight shot attempts in 25 minutes. Although these numbers may not be ideal for Leonard, he was the team’s best defender, finishing the game with a +/- of +26 (game-high).

Leonard’s co-star, Paul George, started on a tough note but found his groove as the game continued. His shooting splits may not have been the best, but George ended the contest with 16 points, nine boards, and three assists in 36 minutes of playing time. He also made several defensive plays down the stretch, which pushed the Clippers out in front.

Despite the win, the LA Clippers have a long journey ahead.

Throughout the game, interior big man Ivica Zubac continues to be seen as the anchor for the LA Clippers. Not only did he play a team-high in minutes, but he grabbed 18 rebounds to go with his nine points. Thus his +/- of +15.

Furthermore, the player of the game must go to the heart of Clipper nation, Reggie Jackson. He easily had his best performance of the season against his former squad, posting 23 points, three rebounds, and three assists on 7-12 shooting. Without Jackson, it is safe to say the Clippers would have taken a disappointing loss to Detroit.

Regardless of the positives, the team’s chemistry is not fully there. Turning the ball over 18 times is not fitting, considering how talented the Clippers are. In addition, the team must start their games on the right foot if they hope to avoid a large deficit. These will be the primary keys to winning games, especially against some of the best teams in the NBA.

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Though the LA Clippers handled business against the Pistons, their next match-up is against the San Antonio Spurs for the second time this year. As seen earlier, the Spurs are extremely underrated through their young talent. Lue will need his rotational pieces to step up if the Clippers are looking for their 10th win.