January 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Clippers to employ triangle offense sets for Kawhi Leonard

The new wrinkles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue added to the offense this season originated from the triangle offense and the ways in which Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan found high rates of success.

Lue decided to employ “a few sets” from the triangle because Kawhi Leonard has the skills to operate in the pinch-post area like Bryant did with the Lakers and Jordan did with the Chicago Bulls. And Lue is using this because Leonard expressed a desire to perform in the triangle.

Lue, who won two NBA championships with Bryant and played with Jordan with the Washington Wizards, said the shortened preseason and training camp were also factors in trying to find ways to put Leonard in the best position.

“We have put in two or three sets of the triangle and let Kawhi play in those spaces where Kobe and Jordan played in those spots as well,” Lue said before Sunday’s practice. “He loves those two players and he really respects and looks up to those guys. So, we just try to put him in position. I was able to play with both those guys and I also played in the triangle, so just trying to teach him that as well … teach our team as well.”

Motivated Clippers

Beyond having to watch the Lakers get their NBA championship rings on opening night Tuesday at Staples Center, beyond watching them raise their league-tying 17th championship banner and beyond playing their rivals, the Clippers have their own source of motivation this season.

That, at least, is what Paul George maintained Sunday.

The Clippers were one of the favorites to win the crown last season. Instead, they imploded and blew a 3-1 series lead in losing to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.

It’s a new season and George said the Clippers are simply motivated to right some wrongs and to bring home the first championship in franchise history.

“Dec. 22 won’t be the test of defining who we are and where we’re at playing the Lakers on their opening ring ceremony,” George said. “It’ll be a great ceremony for them. But it’s the start of what we’re trying to do and that’s the only thing we got to look at is the start of the marathon and the race that we’re running for this year. So, we have enough motivation going into this season regardless if we started this season off with someone else or the Lakers. We got enough motivation for this season.”

Injury update

Lue said Serge Ibaka (lower back soreness) and Patrick Patterson (hyperextension of elbow) have improved health-wise and are expected to practice Sunday.

Ibaka, the starting center who signed a two-year deal with the Clippers for $19 million, missed the preseason finale Thursday night against the Jazz because of his injury.

“Serge practiced the full practice yesterday [Saturday] as well,” Lue said.

When asked about the status of Marcus Morris, who missed all three preseason games with right knee soreness, Lue didn’t totally rule out the forward for Tuesday night’s game.

“We don’t know as of right now,” Lue said.