For the first time in his tenure as Clippers coach, Tyronn Lue had a full squad to work with – including Kawhi Leonard – for the second game in as many nights in San Francisco on Wednesday night.
Before his team’s game against the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers (5-3) welcomed back Marcus Morris Sr., who had missed every game with pain in his right knee.
They also brought back all-star wing Paul George, who was sidelined with pain in his right ankle after losing to Spurs on Tuesday. He pinched his ankle, Lue said, while scoring 39 points to lead the Clippers to victory over the Suns in Phoenix on Sunday.
And they also had Leonard in the line-up; Its availability further enhanced these positive health developments.
For the first time since April 5, 2017, the star wing, who had dealt with knee and quadriceps injuries in previous seasons, played in both games in succession.
Leonard began avoiding back-to-back games after missing most of the 2017-18 season in San Antonio with a right quadriceps injury.
At the beginning of the following season in Toronto, Leonard made it a personal policy to avoid consecutive days so as not to worsen a « persistent injury to the patellar tendon in the left knee » – as the NBA described in a press release last season . when it also announced it fined the Clippers $ 50,000 for statements deemed incompatible with Leonard’s health.
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Before that season began, the NBA sent a memo to teams looking to tighten the rules for nationally televised games that have been in place for several seasons, ESPN reported. The league reportedly reminded teams that they are forbidden from resting healthy players for a « high profile game on national television » and stated that any team that chooses to do so will be fined at least $ 100,000 becomes.
Leonard, who averages 34.2 minutes in seven games this season, played 37 minutes on Tuesday when he contributed 30 points and 10 assists with no turnover. It turned out that before the season, Leonard had his own message for Lue: he wanted to try to be available for back to back.
« He just said he was feeling good, » Lue said of the two-time NBA final MVP. “Before the start of the season we talked about how he wanted to play back-to-back. He felt good and wanted to play more games. So let’s just take it one at a time and a good thing for us is that he is playing tonight. »
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