Kawhi Leonard — Clippers, Lakers completely different groups since opener


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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — Will probably be 65 days for the reason that Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers final confronted one another.

And when the 2 groups take to the Staples Middle flooring once more on Christmas, Kawhi Leonard expects each to look very completely different than they did on opening evening.

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“It was just the first game of the season, everybody was just trying to get in their rhythm,” Leonard mentioned of the primary assembly that the Clippers took 112-102 on Oct. 22. “I believe they acquired [Kyle] Kuzma again taking part in and now we acquired Paul [George], so it is gonna be two completely different groups.

“We have been by means of a journey ’til Christmas. It is a completely different matchup.”

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The final time the Clippers and Lakers noticed one another, George was in a tuxedo-like jacket on the bench. He missed all of coaching camp and the primary 11 video games as he made his manner again from surgical procedures on his shoulders. After additionally not having Leonard play in a whole back-to-back all season as a result of his knee, and having to cope with different accidents to position gamers like Landry Shamet, the Clippers (22-10) are lastly entire coming into Christmas.

Head coach Doc Rivers mentioned Tuesday’s Christmas Eve observe was the primary one the group has had all season with a full roster out there and wholesome. Rivers appeared extra enthusiastic about that than the extremely anticipated Christmas sport that all the metropolis of Los Angeles and far of the NBA has waited to see.

“That is town,” Rivers said after Tuesday’s practice of the anticipation heading into this showdown. “We’ve not been ready for tomorrow. We begin ready for tomorrow at present. We have needed to get by means of the opposite video games, so now we are able to concentrate on the Christmas sport.”

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Rivers mentioned Leonard and his group aren’t coping with any distractions, together with a narrative by The Athletic, which reported that Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, made requests throughout free company when Leonard was contemplating the Clippers, Lakers and Toronto Raptors that made the Lakers really feel uncomfortable.

Among the many reported requests had been a stake in possession and a personal aircraft.

“I do not know. I did not learn it, so I do not understand how dependable it’s,” Leonard said when asked about the report after practice. “I haven’t got no data of it … individuals make up tales on daily basis.”

Rivers mentioned the NBA routinely investigated the Clippers after their free-agent signing of Leonard to a three-year, $103 million deal.

“They examine yearly,” Rivers said. “… Yearly, somebody indicators, there’s going to be an investigation. That is superb. The hot button is when you’re clear. From what I do know, I do not assume we had been the one ones. The NBA investigated [other] groups. I do not know that [exact amount]. However I do know there was multiple. We must always. That is what now we have to do and ensure issues are completed proper. The NBA mentioned it was.”

Leonard signed with the Clippers, who additionally traded 5 first-round picks, two first-round choose swaps and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to Oklahoma Metropolis for George again in July.

Now Leonard will get to see what the Clippers will appear to be with George in opposition to the Lakers (24-6) and LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“We’re nonetheless attempting to get the cling of one another,” Leonard said of the Clippers getting healthier and developing chemistry. “I imply, we’re nonetheless in a very good place, we nonetheless acquired a whole lot of progress, and I believe all people is aware of that. However not complacent and that is what’s gonna make us a greater group.”



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